Dunn, who played on scores of hit records that sold millions of copies and was part of the original John Belushi-Dan Aykroyd Blues Brothers’ Band, died May 13 in his sleep in Tokyo, Japan, on tour at age 70.
“I was fortunate to be there that great night,” Hood said of that induction night in a call from his Athens, Ga., home. “I had heard Booker T. Jones in person before working on an album with him, but that was the first time I got to hear Booker T. and The MGs in person.”
Hood’s band, Drive-By Truckers, backed up Jones on his instrumental album Potato Hole released in 2009.
On Saturday night, May 26, Augusta-area music fans of Drive-By Truckers will get to hear the internationally-known band once again when it headlines this weekend’s Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que and Bluegrass Festival.
DBT headlined at the Imperial Theatre in 2004, played The Mission nightclub in 2005 and played Sky City nightclub in 2010.
“I think we may have played Augusta a time or two before about 1999 at the Soul Bar,” Hood said. “Coco Rubio (the owner of the Soul Bar) was an early supporter of our band.”
Besides Hood, members of Drive-By Truckers are Mike Cooley (who played with Hood previously in the bands Adam’s House Cat and Virgil Kane), John Neff, Brad Morgan and Jay Gonzalez.
Hood was born in Florence, Ala., and grew up in the shadow of his famous musical father: trombone and bass player David Hood.
As part of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Hood played on scores of hit records and albums made by the scores of famous singers who came to rural Alabama seeking that special, bluesy soul sound on their recordings.
Hood’s father can be heard on such recordings as Percy Sledge’s Warm and Tender Love and Take Time To Know Her; Aretha Franklin’s I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) and Let It Be; Etta James’ Tell Mama; Staple Singers’ I’ll Take You There and Respect Yourself; Paul Simon’s Loves Me Like A Rock and Kodachrome; Bob Seger’s Katmandu, Night Moves, Main Street, We’ve Got Tonight, Against The Wind, etc.; Rod Stewart’s First Cut Is The Deepest, Dr. Hook’s Sharing The Night Together and many, many, many more huge hits.
“I have pretty eclectic tastes in music as the result of growing up with my dad’s record collections,” Hood said. “He had thousands of albums, and if something had a cool album cover, I’d pull it out and listen to it.”
So did his dad ever bring his work home, maybe by inviting some recording star over for supper?
“My dad pretty much kept his work and his home life separate, and I wasn’t allowed to hang out at the studio,” Hood said. “It wasn’t as exciting a life growing up as you might expect, but it did happen several times.
“Linda Ronstadt came over to our house a couple of times, and the second time she was a really, really big star. Cat Stevens came over one time, and I got to meet Bob Seger many times.
“He recorded in Muscle Shoals before he became famous and would use our family’s camp house at the lake to stay out there sometimes instead of a hotel.”
Hood’s dad recorded with him on his 2009 album Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs) and was part of Hood’s side musical project Mystic Rumblers.
“He played with me just this past weekend in Nashville, and he’s going to be on a new album I have coming out in the fall called Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance.”
Hood has loved living in Athens since he moved there from Alabama in 1994, not knowing anyone in town.
“I knew there was a great music scene here, but I only was planning to stay long enough to get enough money to move to Atlanta. I got a job as assistant manager of what turned out to be this terrible restaurant that went under owing me three weeks’ pay that I never got.
“I managed to stay afloat, though, and have made Athens my home. I just had a feeling it would work out for me here, and it has.”
Drive-By Truckers will finish off the music festival Saturday night. Here are the other scheduled performers:
MOUNTAIN HEART: This extremely popular bluegrass band was formed in 1998 by Steve Gulley, Barry Abernathy and Jim Van Cleve. Other members now include Josh Shilling, Jason Moore, Aaron Ramsey and Seth Taylor. The band performed for a full house at Imperial Theatre in January for the Morris Museum of Art’s Southern Soul & Song series. It has shared the stage with such diverse acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band, Levon Helm and John Fogerty. The band has performed on the Grand Ole Opry as a guest artist more than 125 times.
THE RAMBLIN’ FEVERS: This local trio consists of Becca Wilson, of Augusta, and David Beverly and Stephen Dodd, of North Augusta. The name of the band was inspired by the song Ramblin’ Fever by Merle Haggard. Wilson attends Augusta State University, Dodd attends Aiken Technical College and Beverly works full time. The band members list their influences as including Bob Dylan, The Avett Brothers and Johnny Cash. Augusta nightclub owner and promoter Coco Rubio has said The Ramblin’ Fevers are his favorite new local band.
THE BROTHERS COMATOSE: Real-life brothers Alex and Ben Morrison form the heart of this band with other members including Gio Benedetti, Ryan Avellone and Philip Brezina. The band from Petuluma, Calif., has toured the United States and performed at the massive South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, in March. The band held a release party for its new, self-titled CD a few days ago at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.
LERA LYNN: Seen recently at Sky City nightclub in Augusta, this singer from Athens describes her music as “honest, simple, subtle, sultry and dark.” Her performance will include songs from her 2011 country-influenced CD Have You Met Lera Lynn? The native of Houston, Texas, first played professionally at age 15. She moved to Athens at 19 and started a band called Birds & Wire that had a more bluegrass/jazz sound.
KETCH & CRITTER: Jay Ketcham “Ketch” Secor and Christopher “Critter” Fuqua are members of the popular young bluegrass band Old Crow Medicine Show. Secor lived in Aiken in the mid-1980s and attended Mead Hall Episcopal School when his father was headmaster. Old Crow Medicine Show was “discovered” five years ago by the daughter of bluegrass legend Doc Watson, playing outside a drugstore in Boone, N.C. Since then, the band has gained national attention for its devotion to traditional, rural sounds and energetic stage performances.
THE LITTLE ROY & LIZZY SHOW: For more than 50 years, “Little Roy” Lewis has entertained bluegrass and gospel music fans throughout the United States and Canada with his high-energy guitar and banjo playing. He was part of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame-inducted group The Lewis Family based in Lincolnton, Ga. He joined with guitarist-fiddler Lizzy Long, also reared in Lincolnton, to form The Little Roy & Lizzy Show in 2009. Long in 2010 won the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for Song of the Year for the recording When We Fly with country music star Ty Herndon. She and Lewis won the Dove Award for Bluegrass Song of the Year in 2011 for their recording Mountain Top. Other members of the group include Nathan Stewart, Al Hoyle (the mayor of Ellijay, Ga.) and Al’s sister Lisa.
BUXTON: Hailing from La Porte, Texas, near Houston, this band has been mixing folk and rock since 2004. It has been described as “folk-pop that you can sink your teeth into like a big steak.” Members include lead vocalist Sergio Trevino with his “wild, warbling voice,” Jason Willis, Chris Wise, Justin Terrell and Austin Sepulvado. One reviewer noted that Trevino’s voice “continues its haunting ways, telling painful stories of bitter family feuds and women who leave.” Band member Wise says, “I don’t think the music is ridiculously depressing. It’s just somber.”
FRONTIER RUCKUS: This American folk-rock band hailing from Michigan also is known for its lyrically-intensive songs. Band founders Matthew Milia and David Winston Jones met in high school while living in the metro Detroit area and in 2008 released its debut full-length album The Orion Songbook. They began by playing a mixture of Milia’s early compositions and traditional bluegrass songs. Other members include Zachary Nichols and Ryan Etzcorn. Their performance at the huge Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tenn., prompted Rolling Stone magazine to list the band as one of its “Essential Sets” and describe the group as “the perfect recipe for Gothic Americana.”
THE WHISKEY GENTRY: This Atlanta-based band was formed in the spring of 2009 and has won over local audiences through appearances at Sky City, Still Water Taproom and past Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que festivals. The group takes its name from a term that writer Hunter S. Thompson used in describing patrons of the Kentucky Derby: “a pretentious mix of booze, failed dreams and a terminal identity crisis.” It blends bluegrass, country, punk rock and folk music ranging from Jimmy Martin’s Sittin’ On Top of the World to Rod Stewart’s Maggie Mae. Lead vocalist Lauren Staley Morrow in 2007 was part of the popular Atlanta band called Missy Gossip & The Secret Keepers. The band includes Lauren’s husband, Jason Morrow, and Chesley Lowe, Sammy Griffin, Price Cannon and Michael Smith.
AUSTIN LUCAS & GLOSSARY: Austin Lucas grew up in Bloomington, Ind., moved to the Czech Republic in 2003, then came back to the U.S. in 2008. He is the son of producer and songwriter Bob Lucas, who is known for his work with Grammy Award-winner Alison Krauss and Union Station. He often performs with the band Glossary based in Murfreesboro, Tenn., which is known for its “hodgepodge of Americana music.” Members include Bingham Barnes, Todd Beene, Eric Giles, Joey Kneiser and Kelly Kneiser.
SIBLING STRING: This Augusta-based band includes Jacob Beltz, Deveran Roof, Michael Baideme, Dave Mercer and Henry Wynn III. Wynn, on fiddle, frequently performs with his father, noted guitarist Henry Wynn Jr., and often is misidentified (including on the Papa Joe’s Web site) as Henry Wynn II. Sibling String has appeared on the 12 Bands of Christmas CD and concert. Augusta Chronicle music columnist Steven Uhles has noted that Sibling String has “flown under a lot of music fans’ radar. That’s a shame, because the band may be, pound for pound, the most talented combo currently playing in Augusta.” The group combines sounds of an acoustic string band with high-energy rock and roll.
THE MASON JARS: Another Augusta-based group, The Mason Jars, was created as a duo act by singer and songwriter Andy Colbert and guitarist Trey Pitts. They performed regularly at local venues until last October when the two moved to opposite sides of North Carolina. Their Web site notes, “The music is in their blood much too thick now, and no ties to educational or personal responsibility can replace it. The shows must go on, the people must dance and the beers must flow. Though the boys are thoroughly enjoying their new homes as well as looking forward to their upcoming shows throughout the Carolinas, a home town show … will always be a welcomed jolt of energy. Much love to the fans in Augusta.”