For anyone living in Muscle Shoals, David Hood needs no introduction. In short, David Hood is the embodiment of the Shoals Sound — the swampy, soulful music that seems to flow out of the area as easily as the Tennessee River itself. A bassist and producer, Hood has contributed to records by artists as varied as Willie Nelson and Frank Black, Odetta and Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin and Shelby Lynne, Bob Dylan and The Staple Singers, William Tell and the Waterboys — many times in his role as the backbone of the iconic session band, The Swampers. He founded the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and is in the Alabama Hall of Fame. Oh, and not to be overlooked, his son Patterson is a co-founder of the Drive-By Truckers.
Hood turned 78 this September, and is still going strong. We caught up with him to learn what he’s been up to, and what keeps him going. (Hint: Like Guy Clark, he has a fondness for home grown tomatoes.)
Despite all the success he’s had, he’s not looking to repeat the past. “Variety sustains me and keeps me interested and engaged,” he says. “It would be boring if I played the same stuff all the time.” He’s recovering from shoulder replacement surgery right now, but hopes to be playing bass soon. Until then, he is cultivating his own garden — literally. “I planted tomatoes back in the spring and have had a banner year with them. Sounds crazy, but that makes me very happy and proud. I love sharing them with people.”