Album Review – Adam Hood’s “Bad Days Better”
There are some really excellent stories down through the annals of country music history. Some of them are even true. It really was a flat tire in Fort Gay, West Virginia that resulted in Ralph Stanley discovering Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs back in the 70s.
A similar situation resulted in Miranda Lambert discovering Adam Hood in New Braunfels, Texas in 2007. It didn’t result in a wolfman mullet and super hits on the radio for Adam Hood like it did for Keith and Ricky, but he did land a songwriting deal with Carnival Music where Hood wrote some hits for others, and was able to pursue his passion for music full time.
Adam Hood is a songwriter’s songwriter, doing it for the love of the craft as opposed to the commercial application of whatever he comes up with. Similar accusations can be made of his buddy Brent Cobb who came on as a producer for this new album that is full of the kind of Southern country soul these two cats are known for. Add Blackberry Smoke to the cast as the album’s backing band, and you’re quickly running out of excuses why not to pay attention to it.
This is the kind of country music that helps reset your mood and perspective. It’s a midlife awakening to the most important things in life. You don’t have to be a religious person to get swept up in the revival aspect of Adam Hood’s song “Business with Jesus.” It’ll have atheists singing along, and wanting to drop Benjamins in the collection plate. His duet with Miranda Lambert called “Harder Stuff” is a smartly-written take on how to wisen up to get something more out of life than just a good time.
The lessons of Bad Days Better may all be universal, but the stories feel very personal to Adam Hood, like in the song “The Speed of the South” where he’s caught mulling over decisions he’s made over his career, wondering why he’s not a bigger name, but realizing selling out wouldn’t be true to himself, and wouldn’t confer a sense of accomplishment even if he was successful.
But the lesson that most underpins this album is the one from the title track, which teaches that often it’s not how well life is going, but the attitude that you bring to it that determines your mood and prospects. Maybe stuff isn’t going so great. But if you’re still on the right side of the ground, you’re doing a shade better than some. And sometimes outlook is tied to outcome.
Enough about all the lessons here though, Bad Days Better is also just a damn good groove album, and a tasty listen. Use the lyric sheets to line the birdcage if you wish, but “Flesh and Blood” and “Livin’ Don’t Give a Damn” are just fun as hell to listen to. This is where lining up all those big names like Brent Cobb and Blackberry Smoke to help produce and record your album pays off, instead of going with Earl from across the street, and whomever answers a Craigslist ad.
Dedicated country fans may want a little more twang from this more soulful approach to country that swaps keys for the steel guitar. But the sound of Bad Days Better sits right down in the well-worn groove Brent Cobb and Adam Hood have created for themselves, and it fits the frame of mind of the written material.
Adam Hood and Company did not record and release this record hoping to end up on some big Billboard chart. They made it for themselves and for you. Nonetheless, by pulling out all the stops, pooling together some of the best songs of his career, and calling in favors from his musician buddies, Adam Hood hoped to turn in a career effort, and he very well may have.
1 3/4 Guns Up (8/10)
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Purchase from Adam Hood
September 20, 2022 @ 8:05 am
Cousin Dave’s got some competition with Brent on the boards here. Great album. I was a fan of Brent Cobb’s music the minute I first heard it years ago, but it took me a little while to get around to Adam Hood. Glad I did. He’s got a great singing voice and lyrical aesthetic.
Excellent from top to bottom, but my faves here right now are “Flesh and Blood” and “Don’t Do It”, incidentally Brent Cobb co-writes. I’d love to see a true duet album (and tour) with Cobb and Hood. Their duet “She Don’t Love Me No More” from Hood’s last album is a jam, too. Don’t sleep on this album folks. It’s a special one.
September 20, 2022 @ 8:09 am
Now this is some good stuff. And Blackberry Smoke as the backing band? Let’s add this to the album of the year list.
September 20, 2022 @ 8:20 am
Quite a few earworms on this album. Sometimes wish the songs were a little longer, but better to want more than less. Brevity also make sense considering he tours a decent amount as a 3 piece band.
Hardcore country fans will prob like Harder Stuff and Low Road, although they’re somewhat outliers to the rest of the album.
September 20, 2022 @ 9:03 am
Wow, this is really good. I’ve only heard the two embedded songs, but will purchase the album when I get off work. Appreciate you bringing it to my attention.
September 20, 2022 @ 9:10 am
Was lucky enough to catch Adam performing with Jason Eady at a local orchard last summer. Not sure what Courtney was up to (perhaps touring with Jamie Lin?), but Adam & Jason teamed up well. Rather than one opening for the other, they traded songs, backing each other with acoustic guitar. A songwriters exhibit, and quite a treat!
Oh, and this album is definitely a keeper!
September 20, 2022 @ 2:43 pm
I’ve liked Adam Hood’s stuff for awhile now.
Hearing about this one being in the works had me excited.
It’s lived up to it’s expectations for sure.
September 20, 2022 @ 4:51 pm
Last year Kentucky was on fire with great music and new releases. Right now it’s Alabama. I’ve been a huge Adam Hood fan for years but I can tell you, at this time in my life and his, this is hands down the best album he’s done. When there are significant events in your life, lots of opportunity and inspiration show up. Adam Hood has that God given gift to express it better than most. If there was ever a full two guns up, this one deserved it. I’m turning in my nomination for album of the year right now.
September 20, 2022 @ 6:42 pm
Great stories! Southern Country and beautiful songwriting in this album. Proud of Adam and all people involved. Happy for Country Music this year, happy to see we have so many great artists doing amazing music.
September 20, 2022 @ 9:43 pm
Another Sequestered Songwriter. May they all find nothing but success in music and life.
September 21, 2022 @ 7:09 am
Been a fan of Adam for awhile now. He has always seemed to be that under the radar guy that doesn’t seem to quite get the recognition he deserves. Hopefully with the help of Cobb and Blackberry Smoke that will change.
September 21, 2022 @ 7:41 am
Recorded at the legendary Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia. Newly renovated, this studio was home to so many classic southern rock records. Hope a lot of artists travel down to Macon to record here.
September 22, 2022 @ 7:39 am
great album and even better dude. This should definitely make the short list for album of the year. “Speed of South” might even be a good nomination for song of the year. Just my personal opinion.
September 22, 2022 @ 8:14 am
Capricorn studios, good songwruting, excellent vocals, BBS as a backing band, cool southern soul feeling and country melodies. WOW!
September 24, 2022 @ 1:43 pm
I truly wasn’t familiar with Adam’s work, other than hearing “Harder Stuff” a time or two.I ran across this album when “Speed of the South” was reviewed on a TikTok account I followed and was drawn right in. His smooth delivery, the thoughtful lyrics and excellent production quality make this album a solid winner. I find myself swaying, singing along and just enjoying the music from start to finish every time I pull it up.