Every once in awhile a singer or a band releases a diamond in the rough. That's the case with Patterson Hood's Killers & Stars. You might know Hood as the venerable leader of the very cool Drive By Truckers, one of the best bands out there today.
Hood recorded Killers in 2001 at his dining room table during a low point in his life personally and professionally. The band was in limbo and he was in the process of a divorce. The result is a CD that's low fi and dark, but brilliant nonetheless.
With the songs consisting just of Hood's voice and acoustic guitar, there's a certain rawness here. And that's a good thing, because Killer's songs are just that - raw. Hardship, uncertainty, frustration, melancholy and resignation are all in evidence.
The songs are all great, but I especially like Pay No Attention to Alice, a cover of a song written by country great Tom T. Hall about a friend of his whose wife was an alcoholic. And Frances Farmer is another great song. Farmer, of course, is the tragic actress that went off the deep end in the '40s. Back then they called it manic-depressive psychosis. Today the neat term for it is bipolar. Maybe Hood understood how Farmer must have felt when she was carted away to a nut house against her will and given shock treatment. Anyhow, that's a glammed up Farmer you see on the cover.
Enough about that. Buy this CD right now.