Live Review: Patterson Hood, Philadelphia, PA, Dec. 5, 2022

Daddy’s been to 14 funerals this year—he says we just have to get through December and 2023 will be better. I’ve only been to four, but I’m not so sure. We’re all going in the same direction, and I don’t know too many folks who are getting younger or less afflicted. 

Certainly not Patterson Hood, who’s made a couple of careers’ worth of albums chronicling complex personal and political histories and exposing the less than glorious nature of those good ol’ glory days, both of the South that made him and of the bands that he made. But at City Winery Philadelphia, Hood goosed our good ghosts and unleashed that good grief, leading a toast to the dead on “Grand Canyon” that made good use of every wineglass wielded by the small crowd that hung on his every word.

Playing a few songs from his solo records (“Uncle Disney” the best of these), one from Adam’s House Cat (“White Knuckle, West Virginia,” more than worth it for the story alone) and a bunch of Drive-By Truckers tunes (stand-outs included “My Sweet Annette,” “The Fourth Night Of My Drinking,” “Pauline Hawkins,” “21st Century USA” and “The Driver”), Hood shouted about the dark and seized the light.

The high point, however, was “Ballad Of Cecil McCobb,” his tribute to longtime DBT artist Wes Freed (one of the too many souls lost in recent months), serving as a reminder that you don’t need to say all there is to say about the people you love in just one perfect song or one capstone story, but to take your good, sweet time capturing their spirit in multiple good songs and many good stories.

—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich