Adam Hood is well known in the songwriting community for penning cuts for Miranda Lambert (“Good Ol’ Days”), Little Big Town (“Front Porch Thing”), Lee Ann Womack (“Same Kind of Different”) and Anderson East (“Surrender”), among others. Now the Alabama native is telling his own story on his new album Somewhere In Between. In an interview with Sounds Like Nashville Hood details some of the more honest tracks on the record as well as shares how he came to collaborate with Lambert.
While Somewhere In Between is Hood’s seventh record, he says it best represents who he is as an artist. The production is different than previous releases as he wanted to make a more organic sounding record. With less instrumentation the subtleties of the music stand out as do the intriguing storylines and simplicity of his lyrics.
“I didn’t really have an intention as far as a theme for the record, but at the same time, the theme presented itself as we were putting songs together,” he admits, settling into a chair at Nashville’s artisanal coffee house Crema. “The small town stuff just started popping out, which is nice to see happen.”
Current single “She Don’t Love Me” penned by Hood, Brent Cobb and Josh Abbott, tells the tale of a man realizing his relationship is over while the reflective “Downturn” details the struggles of a man fighting to make ends meet as a musician. Despite being down on his luck, the protagonist tries his best to stay positive. “The circles I run in are cycles older than time / And I refuse to abide an unchanging life / Because the running in circles beats the hell out of sinking in sand / I simply can’t stand to stay where I am,” he sings on “Downturn.”
“The music industry is a constantly, frustratingly changing thing. This is really not something you go to school for. I know the frustration with it, for sure,” he says, pausing. “As long as I’m still in love with it, and as long as I still have creative energy. I don’t necessarily always know that I’ve got something to say, but I always want to play and sing. As long as I want to do that, I’m going to keep doing it, because the money is what the money is. The success of it is the same thing. It’s all perspective. Someone thinks you’re famous, and then somebody else goes, ‘I don’t even know who that guy is.'”
People are getting to know who Hood is these days thanks in part to Miranda Lambert. The two singers met in 2007 after Lambert’s car broke down in Texas. Hood was playing a show in New Braunfels, Texas, when the singer happened to sit in on his set.
“They had no choice but to stay the night so they were like, ‘Well, let’s go get a beer.’ Turns out, where they got a beer was where we were playing. I gave her CDs and we kept in touch, and she introduced me to Frank Liddell who was at Carnival Music,” he recalls. “He gave me a publishing deal. I was there for seven years. So Miranda–I owe her a lot. She’s the reason why I have a job as a songwriter to begin with.”
Hard to place in one genre, Hood describes his music as “Southern songs.” He explains that this reference covers a lot of bases. Growing up in Opelika, Alabama, the singer had a diverse palate listening to R&B, gospel and country. This can be heard throughout Hood’s catalog like the Chris Stapleton co-penned “Front Porch Thing” recorded by Little Big Town and “Grandpa’s Farm,” recorded by David Nail as well as Drake White, Sara Evans and Frankie Ballard.
“There’s a personal connection between me and everything I do, even if somebody else records it,” he notes.
While he’s only written with Stapleton once, Hood credits the success of the singer’s 2015 Grammy Award-winning album Traveller as opening doors for artists like himself.
“It’s really given guys like me a little bit of hope because there’s no point in being negative about doing country songs. There’s more progressive country songs, and there’s more throwback country songs. It’s just the way it is,” he explains. “For me, for a while there, I said, ‘Well, where do I fit into this? How am I going to keep myself current? What can I bring to the table here?’ There was a little time when I was nervous about that. I didn’t know I had anything to bring to the table. That record, to me, [Traveller] legitimized what I do and I can stay who I am. People obviously like that stuff.”
Hood prides himself on his latest collection, explaining that the songs on Somewhere In Between are “just real plain English.”
“This is really my best foot forward, so far. The more conversational your songs can be, the more relatable they are,” he asserts. “It’s a harder task than we give ourselves credit for, to write about what you know.”
He does just this on “Locomotive,” in which Hood discusses how life’s difficulties are often figured out over time. One of the more meaningful songs on the album, Hood wrote the track for his two-year-old daughter when he observed her playing with blocks when she was younger.
“You see them in their development, they go through this frustration. They get mad at the things they can’t do. In a matter of time, the things that are so tough for them are going to be pretty easy pretty soon, and I can really relate to that,” he shares. “It’s really hard to be in the process of growing. It’s a pretty painful thing and a frustrating thing. I just started writing the song and I realized that it applied to me and it applied to my older daughter. It applied to the kids and the adults, too.”
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Hood, a father to three, credits his wife for suggesting he record the folk-fused opening track “Heart of a Queen.” A song he wrote years ago with Ben Danaher, he sings of how his wife can “always bet on me” when the cards are on the table. Another track, “Easy Way,” he wrote with his wife in mind. The first four lines he originally thought was a chorus but co-writer Pat McLaughlin thought it sounded more like a verse.
“I don’t wanna add anything to what’s already been a long, hard day / I just wanna take some pressure off you and get a little bit off your plate / You take care of a lot of stuff nobody seems to appreciate / Lord knows life can sure get tough, I think it’s time we take the easy way,” he sings softly.
“We’ve got three kids, and my wife needs a little break every once in a while. She needs a song to herself. I feel like that’s an honest one,” he admits. “I always have to write things from my perspective, whether it’s my perspective from the third person of that guy sitting right there, or whatever it is. It’s an internal thing for me. I can’t take myself out of the song.”
Whether he’s writing for himself or other artists, Hood’s unique perspective remains intact. It’s this authenticity that first captivated Lambert and continues to enthrall the listener on his latest release.
Somewhere In Between is out now.