Then again, Hood's admission is reassuring to people who remember Southern rock in its day and have scratched their heads wondering about the comparison. As Hood points out, "It's hard to explain that to people who aren't old enough to understand. To me, that movement was something that happened in a period of time, and we did a record about it, but I've never really felt like it applied to us.
"We're certainly Southern as hell, and the majority of our songs reflect that," he continues. "And 10 seconds on the phone with any of us, and our accents certainly reflect it." (It's true Hood talks like he could hawk sweet tea at a moment's notice.) "But I don't really necessarily think it's a relevant term for the music, if for nothing else than there's so much baggage with it that doesn't really apply."
Hence, the thumbnail classification as Southern rock has been for the band, to quote its new album title, A Blessing and a Curse. And the Truckers' seventh disc might be the lucky one that helps the band escape what Hood calls the "L" word (for Lynyrd). It begins with "Feb. 14," a rocker that gloriously stumbles along like the Replacements on a bender, complete with shattered love story and chocolate-dipped hook.
And yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd has its place in the Truckers' pantheon, though Hood believes Southern Rock Opera "was misunderstood ... particularly by people who didn't listen very closely." He adds: "It was taken as this sort of tribute, like all we ever did was grow up listening to nothing but Lynyrd Skynyrd. And I would have felt a little dishonest without addressing the fact that the Replacements were a much bigger influence in my life as a musician and artist than Lynyrd Skynyrd was, certainly in my formative years playing in bands."
For Hood, it's only rock and roll that his band plays, which may not be au courant these days, but what the hell? "We don't fit in," he concludes. "We're a rock-and-roll band. And that's considered something you're not even supposed to say anymore. I don't know why. I don't know when that became a dirty word.... I love rock and roll. I love all of it, including a lot of it that isn't very good. There's some bands that suck that I really like. If it rocks, I'll probably really like it."