AdvertisementA southern sound that mixes soul, country, and American roots music
Solo artist. Frontman. Behind-the-scenes songwriter. For more than a decade, Adam Hood has left his mark onstage and in the writing room, carving out a southern sound that mixes soul, country, and American roots music into the same package.
It’s a sound that began shape in Opelika, Alabama. Raised by working-class parents, Hood started playing hometown shows as a 16 year-old, landing a weekly residency at a local restaurant. He’d perform there every Friday and Saturday night, filling his set list with songs by John Hiatt, Steve Warner, Hank Williams Jr, and Vince Gill. As the years progressed, the gigs continued — not only in Alabama, but across the entire country, where Hood still plays around 100 shows annually.
These days, though, he’s no longer putting his own stamp on the songs of chart-topping country stars. Instead, many of those acts are playing his music.
Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Anderson East, Frankie Ballard, Josh Abbott Band, Lee Ann Womack, and Brent Cobb are among the dozens of artists who’ve recorded Hood’s songs. An in-demand songwriter, he signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Nashville and producer Dave Cobb’s Low Country Sound in 2016, while still maintaining a busy schedule of tour dates in support of his third solo release, Welcome to the Big World. Two years later, he continues the balancing act with his newest album, Somewhere in Between.
A showcase for both his frontman abilities and songwriting chops, Somewhere in Between also shines a light on Hood’s strength as a live act. He recorded most of the album live at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios over two quick days. Teaming up with producer Oran Thornton (Angaleena Presley’s Wrangled, Miranda Lambert’s Revolution) along the way, their goal was to create something that reflected the raw, real sound of his concerts, where overdubs and unlimited takes are never an option. Also joining Hood in the studio were bassist Lex Price, guitarist and co-writing partner Pat McLaughlin, and drummer Jerry Roe, all of whom captured their parts in a handful of live performances. Hood tracked his vocals at the same time. Stripped free of studio trickery and lushly layered arrangements, Somewhere in Between is an honest, story-driven record — the sort of album that relies on craft, not gloss, to pack its punch.
It’s also an album that finds Hood telling his own story. A dedicated family man, he wrote “Locomotive” after watching his young daughter develop her motor skills while playing with a set of blocks. A road warrior, he penned songs like “Downturn” about a life filled with wanderlust and long drives from gig to gig. A native Alabaman who still lives in the Yellowhammer State, he celebrates America’s rural pockets with “Keeping Me Here” and “Real Small Town,” two songs that fill their verses with images of main streets, open landscapes, hard times, and good people.
Somewhere in Between may be autobiographical but there’s a universal appeal to this music. A true blue-collar songwriter, Hood shines a light on the everyday experiences — from family to friends to the thrill of Friday nights — that we all appreciate. It’s extraordinary music about ordinary lives, performed with conviction by a man who continues to balance a critically acclaimed solo career with his commercial successes as a songwriter.
“It’s southern music,” he says, grouping Somewhere in Between’s wide range of music under an appropriate banner. “That’s what it represents: the soulful side of southern music, the country side of southern music, the genuineness of southern culture, and the way I grew up. One of the t-shirts I sell at every show simply says ‘Southern songs’ and that’s a good summary of what I do. It’s what I’ve always done.”
Sam Foster is a road dog. He lives and breathes the idea that repetition and regularity are the chisels to refine his craft. Hailing from Winston-Salem, Foster emerged on the North Carolina music scene in 2014 as a solo artist and he’s brought his brand of tenacity to eager crowds all over the Southeastern United States ever since.
Foster is a little bit country, a whole lotta rock and roll. While drawing much inspiration from legends of country music past and present, Foster’s sound can be more broadly described as rock. His roots run deep into the vein of American music, and he’s continually inspired by folk, soul, Southern rock, and rhythm and blues.
Foster’s debut album Rough Edges (The First Cuts) was released in 2015. Rough Edges was just what it sounds like -- a collection of gritty, raw home recordings cut in the living room of James Vincent Carroll. An embodiment of Foster’s DIY spirit, Foster and Carroll played all instruments on Foster’s original compositions. To follow up, Foster began working with producer and engineer Doug Davis at Flytrap Music Productions. The result was 2018’s Hardened Hearts, a conscientious nod to the gamut of Americana music.
In 2017, Foster co-founded Whiskey Foxtrot with singer-songwriter Seth Williams. After filling out their numbers, the five-piece Whiskey Foxtrot dove headfirst into touring, playing hundreds of shows across the South over four years. Whiskey Foxtrot established a following on local, regional, and global levels, and shared the stage with The Steel Woods, Tennessee Jet, Ward Davis, The Way Down Wanderers, John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff, Sunny Sweeney, Caleb Caudle, and Justin Wells. Whiskey Foxtrot released their debut, Hard Lines & Headlights, in 2020. Produced and engineered by Benjy Johnson at Earthtones Recording Studio, the album is a testament to love, heartbreak, and hard work that’s characterized by driving guitars and mournful lap steel and grounded by a pounding rhythm section. Hard Lines & Headlights was well-received by fans and critics alike.
Like most people, Foster was changed by global pandemic. Spending less time on the road and more time at home writing, Foster focused on songwriting, resulting in a long list of new songs ready to showcase live and record for posterity. Whiskey Foxtrot disbanded in early 2021, and Foster finds himself once again a solo artist. As the world enters a new chapter, so too does Foster. The good news is that he’s got new stories to tell, new shows to play, and new music to debut.
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The Evening Muse, 3227 N Davidson St, Charlotte, United States
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