For a long time Patterson Hood was the front man of the Drive By Truckers. A while back I reviewed their new album on the Soul Shack and came across this recording of Patterson doing his favorite songs from "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" on Southern Shelter. I listened to it a couple of times and still do not quite know what to make of it. I'm a big fan of the Drive By Truckers, their music is a pleasant mix between Crazy Horse era Neil Young and "Nebraska" era Springsteen. All their albums are consistently good and keep getting better. That doesn't necessarily mean a cover project is automatically a success. Patterson performed this set at an AIDS benefit in Athens where bands were asked to perform songs by their musical heroes. Patterson chose songs from "Darkness" claiming in the opening announcement that he was 14 years old when the album came out, "it saved my life so I'll try not to slaughter it" he said.
I'm afraid that Patterson didn't quite succeed at his objective. The recording is nice enough, clear with a lot of depth, no complaints here. But the band Patterson is using here is smaller and nowhere near as tight as the E-Street Band. On top of that Patterson's voice is a lot thinner than Springsteen's. While his voice would probably work very well on Neil Young related material, it disappoints here some what. Especially since Patterson doesn't change the arrangements of the songs, adapts them to his own personal style. Though Patterson's performance is very charming indeed and he puts as much conviction in the songs as he can muster, his nasal voice puts me off every time, especially when Patterson stumbles and mumbles through the words when he forgets the exact words. Charming, nice to hear every now and then, but certainly not something that will ever get heavy rotation in my collection.
Download the show in MP3 here or play them on line through this site.
Sound: 4,5 out of 5
Show: 2,5 out of 5