Album Review – Adam Hood’s “Bad Days Better”

photo: Robert Millage

There are some really great stories in the annals of country music history. Some of them are even true. It was really a flat tire in Fort Gay, West Virginia that brought Ralph Stanley to Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs in the 70s.

A similar situation led Miranda Lambert to discover Adam Hood in New Braunfels, Texas in 2007. It didn’t result in a wolfman mullet and radio smash hits 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 of a songwriter, doing it for the love of the craft as opposed to the commercial application of whatever he offers. Similar charges can be leveled against his pal Brent Cobb who became the producer of this new album full of the kind of southern country soul that these two cats are known for. Add Blackberry Smoke to the cast as the album’s backing band, and you quickly run out of excuses not to pay attention.

It’s the kind of country music that helps reset your mood and perspective. It’s a midlife awakening to the more important things in life. You don’t have to be a religious person to get carried away by the revival aspect of Adam Hood’s song “Business with Jesus.” There will be atheists singing and wanting to put Benjamins on the collection plate. His duet with Miranda Lambert called “Harder Stuff” is a cleverly written take on how to wake up to get something more out of life than just a good time.

The lessons of bad days are better can all be universal, but the stories feel very personal to Adam Hood, such as in the song “The Speed ​​of the South” where he is caught reflecting on the decisions he has made during his career, asking why he’s not a bigger name, but realizing that he sells himself would not be true to himself and confer a sense of accomplishment even if successful.

But the lesson that most underpins this album is that of the title track, which teaches that often it’s not the quality of life, but the attitude you bring to it that determines your mood and outlook. Maybe things are not going so well. But if you’re always on the right side of the field, you do a little better than some. And sometimes the outlook is tied to the outcome.

Enough about all the lessons here though, bad days are better it’s also just a damn good groove album, and a tasty listen. Use the lyric sheets to line the birdcage if you want, but “Flesh and Blood” and “Livin’ Don’t Give a Damn” are just plain fun 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 across the street and whoever answers a Craigslist ad.

Devoted country fans might want a little more twang from this more soulful approach to country that swaps keys for steel guitar. But the sound of bad days are better sits in the well-worn groove that Brent Cobb and Adam Hood have created for themselves, and it matches the mood of the written material.

Adam Hood and Company did not record and release this record in hopes of ending up on a big Billboard chart. They did it for them and for you. Nonetheless, by pulling out all the stops, collecting some of the best songs of his career, and currying favor with his fellow musicians, Adam Hood hoped to make a career push, and he very well may have.

1 3/4 guns raised (8/10)

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