Adam Hood’s third full-length album The Shape Of Things is an arresting collection of music that celebrates the beauty of life’s everyday struggles. From the captivating opener and previous single “Hell Of A Fight” to the closing fade of the autobiographical “I’ll Sing About Mine,” Hood captures a white-hot passion to create pure art that honors Southern culture and sets it to music.
Hood worked for two years with Carnival Music, a company headed by the CMA Award-winning Frank Liddell, to build what would become the Oct. 2011 release. Produced by Oran Thornton and Matthew Miller, The Shape Of Things is arguably one of Adam’s most groundbreaking records to date. The album earned Adam his first Lonestar Music Award for Singer-Songwriter/Folk Album of The Year in April, 2012. The Lonestar Music Awards also listed Adam in four other categories including Best Male Vocal; a huge feat for any non-Texas artist. The Boston Globe named Adam among its elite “12 Musical Acts To Look For In 2012.” Brian Keane took “I’ll Sing About Mine” to the apex of the Texas Music Chart in summer 2011, and David Nail recorded The Shape Of Things’ “Grandpa’s Farm” for his own Sound Of A Million Dreams. Little Big Town also cut “Front Porch Thang” for their follow-up to The Reason Why, and premiered the track to a spirited sold-out crowd during their two-song set at Keith Urban’s All For The Hall concert in April, 2012.
But it was Adam’s hard work on the road throughout Texas and the Southeast that laid the foundation for his current success, as well as a chance encounter with Miranda Lambert, who became an instant fan after catching Adam’s set at New Braunfels’ Tavern On The Gruene in fall 2007. Miranda was traveling through town with her mother Bev when their car broke down, and while waiting for a hotel vacancy, the pair ended up at the Texas music hall where Adam was plugging 2007′s Different Groove on Ray Wylie Hubbard’s KNBT radio show. Impressed by Adam’s stirring vocals and sharp wit, Miranda called Adam within two weeks with an invitation to perform at her birthday party where he would meet producer Frank Liddell, whose production credits include the Academy of Country Music’s current Album of the Year Four The Record by Miranda and Lee Ann Womack’s I Hope You Dance.
Liddell then signed Adam to his publishing company Carnival Music in January 2008. At the time, Adam was performing 300+ shows a year promoting Different Groove, and was engaged in a three-year, nationwide tour with Leon Russell. “I went everywhere with Leon,” Adam recalls. “We played all kinds of cool places like the Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood, and I learned a lot about how to entertain a crowd by myself. It was good for me too because he’s kept consistent fans for 30 years.”
Amid the heavy tour schedule, Adam remained based out of his hometown Opelika, AL, tearing up Interstate 65 for songwriting appointments in Nashville where he would collaborate with celebrated songwriters including Chris Stapleton and Pistol Annies’ Ashley Monroe. By summer 2011, Adam landed a slot on the Country Throwdown tour, sharing the bill with the fellow Alabaman Jamey Johnson and the legendary Willie Nelson, and he sold the Adam Hood EP as a taste of what was to come.
In fall 2011, Carnival released the pulsating “Flame And Gasoline” as The Shape Of Things’ lead single, which was co-written with Jason Saenz. “I always joke about how it’s kind of like a redneck romance,” Adam says. “You see this couple go through the push and pull and tug of war that’s falling in love. They’re just trying to figure it out.”
The next single released “Hell Of A Fight” was written with Ashley Monroe on a rainy Nashville afternoon after they each turned new leaves in their respective careers. “Every artist asks themselves, ‘What am I doing?’” Adam admits. “We wrote it while we were both coming out of bad times. But we were coming out of them. It wasn’t intended to be sad. Honestly, I couldn’t have picked a better opening song.”
Next in the album’s sequencing is the lazy and mystifying “Granpa’s Farm” about a summer love between a city slicker woman and a country boy. “Tennessee Will” pays homage to all the miles Adam logged driving through Alabama to establish himself in Nashville. “On my way to Nashville, I cross the Tennessee River all the time,” Adam says. “While I didn’t have much to say about the Mississippi River, I wanted to create something that hit close to home as a Southerner.”
The title track helped Adam through a tumultuous time when he questioned his craft while re-acclimating himself to life off the road after years of touring heavily. “That’s really the only song I’d written completely by myself,” he says. “It was frustrating because I felt I had to relearn things I thought I already knew. There were some personal things going on with me, and it was a good ‘head up’ song. It felt like changing horses mid-stream.”
Adam also pays homage to one of his favorite rock bands The Rolling Stones on “Gonna Take A Woman.” “We recorded this around the time they reissued Exile On Main Street, and I dove into that record,” Adam says. “The Stones are not only students of American music, but they are students of Southern music, and they nailed it. When we were going over the guitar/vocal, drummer Fred Eltringham suggested Bob Seger’s ‘Night Moves’ for the groove. I said, ‘No, ‘Tumbling Dice.’” Adam’s admiration for the Stones continues on “Deep Ellum Blues,” which he wrote with Will Kimbrough. “You can’t listen to the Stones without hearing Chuck Berry,” Adam says. “Half of their covers were Chuck Berry songs. So, I wanted to write a tip of the hat to him, and Will was the perfect guy to do this with because we’re both Alabama guys who come from the same musical headspace.”
For “Front Porch Thang,” Adam collaborated with soulful vocalist and lyricist Chris Stapleton to glorify the simplicity of falling in love to the sounds of a summer night in the country. “It was very intimidating because it’s mesmerizing to watch Chris sing,” Adam says. “He’s so effortless. There’s nothing contrived at all, and he’s not trying to sing that way. It just pours out of his mouth.”
Written with Mando Saenz, “Moving Mountains” gave Adam the luxury of expressing his feelings without fear of harming someone close to him, and in “Once They’re Gone,” Adam delivers the powerful message to take time to be with loved ones because the uncertainty of life can take them away forever in an instant.
Closing the collection is the Brian Keane-co-written track “I’ll Sing About Mine,” which is a look at small town living that inspires the hits on Top 40 Country radio. “Most of the songs on mainstream country radio are by the most prolific songwriters in the format,” Adam says. “So, the idea behind ‘I’ll Sing About Mine,’ was not to piss anybody off because when you set out to do that, it never works out. But there was a time when I couldn’t relate to a lot of the country songs on the radio. For someone who was born and raised on country music, that was a problem for me.”
Now a successful songwriter and an Alabamian with a devout Texas following, Adam says he never dreamed of being an artist. “I never realized it was possible because I’m from a small town,” he says. “But I’ve always been the kind of guy who puts the cart before the horse, and I spent most of my 20s forcing things to happen. Honestly, that’s why it’s taken me so long to get here. But timing’s everything.”