Outsider A-Side: Adam Hood Enlists Miranda Lambert, Blackberry Smoke for His New Album ‘Bad Days Better’

by Blake Ells

Adam Hood began his career near Auburn, Ala. in Opelika. It’s a college town situated on the Southwest Georgia state line. He’s been at it for more than 20 years, taking his music from dive bars and clubs in the Southeast before striking it big on the Red Dirt scene in Texas. He connected with Miranda Lambert early in her career and did some songwriting for her, and they’ve remained close ever since.

He released his fifth album, Bad Days Better, on Friday. The album features appearances from Lambert, Blackberry Smoke, and Brent Cobb. He’s set to make his Grand Ole Opry debut in October.

It’s been four or five years since the last record. Was that a pandemic thing? Were you just waiting for the right timing?

Adam Hood: Yes, very much so. It was actually – well, it was all the pandemic’s fault. [laughs] I’m blaming the pandemic for everything.

Truth be told, after we put Somewhere In Between out, the plan was to try to put them out every two years at least. So we had gone in in August of 2020 to start recording this record. We had planned to go to the studio in April. March came around; shut everything down. We had to kind of step back and punt. Then we spent all of 2021 trying to figure out who was going to put it out. Labels and distributors didn’t have the resources or the staff or the finances to take any risks. So we didn’t know what to do.

At the beginning of this year, Britni [Hood’s wife] just said, “We’re gonna do this ourselves.” And we got our butts kicked. [laughs] But we have other people involved now, and it’s good.

Adam Hood Records His New Album at Capricorn

You went down to Macon to record. Was that because of your relationship with Brent Cobb and the Blackberry Smoke guys?

Adam Hood: Yeah, it was pretty much that. They opened Capricorn in December of 2019. Charlie [Starr] said that the first band project they did were those songs they did with Jimmy Hall [Wet Willie]. So we were, like, their first official project.

We tried to force a couple of doors open that wouldn’t budge, and the Capricorn thing just kind of flew open. It was a really cool experience.

Plenty of Guests on ‘Bad Days Better’

Did you write songs with your guests in mind or did you decide later that they’d be a good fit to join you?

Adam Hood: Well with the Miranda [Lambert] thing, that happened in real-time. When we went to record this record, “Harder Stuff” wasn’t even finished. Davis Nix is the one that had the chorus written. We went in together and wrote the first verse. When we were at the studio, we stayed at an Airbnb together and me and Charlie stayed up late one night and wrote a second verse to it.

That song wasn’t intended to have Miranda involved. It was cool to see that song bloom in the studio. It’s the only song on the record that’s a slow song. Brent and I kind of hit Miranda from both directions and said, ‘Would you be willing to do this?’ And she can’t say no to both of us! She might say no to one of us every now and then. But she can’t tell us both no.

And how did the Blackberry Smoke thing work out for you?

Adam Hood: Ben called Trey, their manager. Charlie and I grew up about 15 minutes from each other. He graduated high school in ’92. I graduated in ’93.

Was he from Columbus [Georgia]?

Adam Hood: He’s from Valley [Alabama]. He may have even lived in Lanett. But he went to Valley High. He graduated from Valley in ’92; I graduated from Opelika in ’93. And we never met. But we had a lot in common. We’d done some shows together before. I think I opened up for him in North Carolina or something like that. Nonetheless, we had a few small acquaintances. And the opportunity presented itself. I know I’ve made a friend in Charlie. And if you feel like you’ve made a friend in Charlie, you’ve genuinely made a friend.

Hood Set to Make His Opry Debut

How does it feel to make your Grand Ole Opry debut after 20 years of doing this?

Adam Hood: It’s a real validation. It wasn’t something that was even on my radar. Of course, you want to do it, but you never set your sights on it. When I got that call, it was a blindside. But it’s validation. And I needed that. I don’t know if it’ll ever sink in.