Patterson Hood – Murdering Oscar (and other love songs) Patterson Hood – Murdering Oscar (and other love songs)

Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar

Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar

Patterson Hood’s 2009 release Murdering Oscar (and other love songs) features an arrangement of songs split  about fifty-fifty between tracks written prior to a divorce in 2001, and those written nearly three years afterwards. Murdering Oscar is a follow up to the amazingly beautiful and earnest Killers and Stars (2004). Killers and Stars was comprised of lo-fi songs written during that time in 2001 when Patterson was going through his divorce. It would seem that the three years between the divorce and album release had given him some introspection on that period.

Hood’s solo debut Killers and Stars snuck under most radars. It was recorded in just two days during a period right after the divorce, and also during a time that Patterson was fighting with his band mates in Drive-By Truckers. Killers and Stars remains a mostly forgotten gem of the last decade.

It’s a high risk proposition for even the most talented artists to release an original album with songs written over a nearly fifteen year period. Instead of trying to present Murdering Oscar as one congruent work Patterson uses a point, counter-point, arrangement of songs. The tracks from the early 90s are distinctly more raw, and end up providing contrast from those recorded around the 2004 period.

Patterson’s interest in the work and death of Kurt Cobain is evident. Two tracks on Murdering Oscar illustrate a story focusing on Nirvana’s late vocalist. “Heavy And Hanging” (1994) is a potent song with a full bodied sound, and strong Alabama style southern-rock guitar. “Walking Around Sense” (1994 and 2004) is a down tempo, morose piece written for the daughter of Courtney Love. The lyrics in those two songs can serve as affirmation that Patterson Hood is one of the greatest American music writers alive today.

Murdering Oscar isn’t background music; it unabashedly demands its listener’s attention. Hearing the album all the way through the first time you may not really know what to think. It’s one of those recordings that will have you waking up the entire next week wanting to scratch the itch of listening to it. The albumwon’t score many radio hits, and I don’t think it aims to. The reward for those who take the time to listen to listen to Murdering Oscar will be real music, and vibrant stories from a true original.

Murdering Oscar
Pride of the Yankees
I Understand Now
The Playboy Mansion (vinyl only)
Sam’s in the Ground (vinyl only)
The Range War
She’s A Little Randy
Foolish Young Bastard
Heavy and Hanging
Walking Around Sense
Back of a Bible
Uncle Phil and Aunt Phyllis in the Month After the Election (vinyl only)

Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar (and other love songs), reviewed by Big Ben on 2009-06-29T00:03:23-07:00 rating 4.4 out of 5

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