Patterson Hood and Southern History

Patterson Hood, signing for fans in Richmond, Virginia, in October 2010.

By Colin Woodward

I’ve blogged in the past about Patterson Hood–the chief songwriter for the terrific rock band Drive-By Truckers–and his insights into southern history. The Truckers are from Alabama, but they’re based in Athens, Georgia, and they’ve hit upon themes in their work that are not just southern, but universal. Still, the band’s albums address the usual southern themes of ruined love, bad economic times, guns and murder, and drinking. Lots of drinking. Here, Patterson talks to a reporter from the Daily Beast about Patterson’s love of history. After all, it’s not many songwriters who write about Shiloh, George Wallace, the battle of Iwo Jima, and Buford Pusser. You can hear the love for history in the Truckers’ entire body of work, and you can hear it on Patterson’s new album, Heat Lighting Rumbles in the Distance.

Colin Woodward is a historian and archivist. He is the author of Marching Masters, Slavery, Race, and the Confederate Army during the Civil War (University of Virginia Press, 2014). He is writing a second book on Johnny Cash.

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