Patterson Hood | photo by Andy Tennillee | courtesy of the artist

In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to check in on your friends and loved ones. Here at XPN, we’re Checking In With our extended musical family to see how they’re holding up during the Coronavirus quarantine…and what music has kept them grounded. Today, Dan Reed chats with Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers.

We got Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers on the phone from his Portland, Oregon home for this edition of Checking In, and right away he joked about coping with the cabin fever that comes with a month of self-isolation.

“We’re managing not to turn into The Shining,” he said. “We’re all locked in together, we’re doing good. We’re lucky that we’re all healthy, and we’ll survive it. I’m a little worried about the financial end of it but we’ll get through it.”

In our chat, we talked about the Truckers’ newest album, this year’s The Unraveling, and Hood reflected on the feeling of playing Union Transfer the day after the 2016 presidential election. We also hear some of his all-time favorite songs from Todd Rundgren and Marvin Gaye. Listen to it all in the player below.

Checking In With Patterson Hood of Drive By Truckers

Favorite Song of All Time: “Hello, It’s Me“ by Todd Rundgren

“It’s deceptive. It sounds so simple but if you really listen to it closely, it’s complex as hell. What all it says and the way it says it, it really gives you a snapshot of a dysfunctional relationship that’s hanging by a thread, but it’s still hanging. And there’s still all this love, heartbreak, and sorrow.”

Song That Raises Your Spirits: “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye

“It’s an undeniable song, It’s probably been overplayed at times and yet it’s never lost its power as far as I’m concerned.” 

Song That You’re Most Proud Of Working On: “The Living Bubba” by Drive-By Truckers

“By the time I wrote that song, I’d been writing songs since 1973, so 23 years I’d been writing. But I kind of knew when I wrote that song that this was somehow better that it was anything I’d written. It’s a true story, it’s about a guitar player / singer-songwriter from a little part of Atlanta called Cabbagetown. His name was Gregory Dean Smalley, he had a punk rock band called The Diggers, they wrote these belligerent, kinda funny kind country but very punk rock songs. He was a great guitar player, and The Diggers were a fantastic band, and he was dying of AIDS. He knew his time was running out and, for him, the only thing that gave his life meaning was to play. He made a pact to play as many shows as he could until he died, and he played about a hundred shows the last year he was alive. I was was a sound guy in Athens, Georgia, and had the privilege of mixing some of those shows, and it was life-changing. He was up onstage literally dying, he was so sick, and yet he brought it every night.”