Saturday, January 19, 2019

Certain Songs #1430: Patterson Hood – “Miss Me Gone” | Medialoper

Album: Killers and Stars
Year: 2004

March 2001 was the best of times, and it was the worst of times for Patterson Hood. His band, Drive-by Truckers, had just recorded Southern Rock Opera, the record that would put them on the map and begin to establish them as the greatest American rock ‘n’ roll band of the 21st century, but of course, that hadn’t happened yet.

What was happening was a divorce. So as therapy, Patterson worked up a bunch of new tunes as well as a devastatingly on-point Tom T. Hall cover, and recorded them in his kitchen. As you do.

But then his band took off: Southern Rock Opera was an unexpected slow-burning critical hit, and none of the songs fit thematically with Decoration Day or The Dirty South, so Hood decided to put the songs out in 2004 himself as his first solo album, Killers and Stars, the highlight of which is “Miss Me Gone.”

Obviously and overtly written about his divorce, “Miss Me Gone” is almost a precursor to “Thank U, Next” in how it looks more wistfully upon a broken relationship as opposed to looking at it angrily.

No use blamin’ one another
Neither one of us to blame
Just picked a crazy time
To walk across each other’s path
But I’m awful glad we came

With its churning acoustic guitars and plaintive melody, there’s no question that “Miss Me Gone” would have been a helluva Drive-by Truckers song, especially as the chorus is one of the prettier things he’s ever written, especially with his double-tracked harmonies.

Gonna miss me when I’m gone
Gonna miss me when I’m gone
I’ll be sad, I won’t be the only one
Gonna miss me when I’m gone

In the fifteen years since he released Killers and Stars Patterson Hood has only two more opportunities to release solo albums — obviously the Drive-by Truckers are his primary focus — but the two he as released since are both highly recommended: 2009’s Murdering Oscar (And Other Stories) was recorded in 2005, and featured songs he’d written before DBT was founded with songs he wrote just after his first child was born; 2012’s Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance is based upon an unfinished novel he wrote.

As I write this, it’s been a couple of years since Hood has released any new music — the Drive-by Truckers’ last record was 2016’s excellent American Band — and just as I have been for over fifteen years, I’m really looking forward to what comes next from one of our master songwriters and storytellers.

“Miss Me Gone”

“Miss Me Gone” performed live in 2014


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