Warren Hood and the fiddle that changed my mind

Last August, two months into my Southern residence, I experienced my first Music Camp. Not only was it my first Music Camp, first live concert in Spartanburg, and first time seeing The Belleville Outfit, but it was also my first true experience with the fiddle, thanks to Warren Hood.

I come from Kansas, where there’s either your standard country music or top 40 radio. I chose top 40/adult contemporary, and, in case, you’re not familiar with those music styles, there’s a significant lack of fiddle. But I didn’t realize that lack until I heard what music with sounded like. Who knew? I instantly fell for the fiddle. I instantly fell for Warren Hood and the Goods.

Warren Hood

Rob Teter of The (sadly, former) Belleville Outfit, organizer of Music Camp, had brought along Warren Hood and the Goods from their musical home of Austin, TX. Though it was the Goods’ first show in Spartanburg, Warren Hood himself was no stranger to our parts: his father was Champ Hood of the Spartanburg-born Uncle Walt’s Band.

And Warren Hood and the Goods are coming back to Spartanburg next Friday to play at The Showroom (tickets here!). Warren kindly answered some of my questions via email recently, amid a busy schedule with his multiple bands and cross-country gigs, including at last weekend’s Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC.

Since your father is from Spartanburg, and Uncle Walt’s Band started here, how do you see your relationship with Spartanburg? Have you spent much time here?

Spartanburg is as much home to me as Austin. Since I was born I’ve spent a few weeks every summer and even a few Christmas breaks there. There’s a lake house outside of town that my grandpa built where I learned how to fish and how to swim just as my dad and uncle Robin did when they were kids. It always feels like coming home when I return to Spartanburg and I see all of those familiar faces.

So you’re playing with The Waybacks, The Goods, and several other side projects. How does playing with so many different musicians in different situations affect your own music? Is it an advantage to be in multiple bands over only one?  

I play in several bands right now including The Goods, The Waybacks, The Coveters, Toni Price, and a few more that I don’t do on a regular basis. This means I play almost every night. It’s extremely rare that I get 2 nights off in a row. I do enjoy getting to play various styles with many different bands and I learn a lot from playing with different players. Still, there is something to be said about doing one thing all of the time and being truly great at it. When Uncle Walt’s Band was in its prime all three members were devoted to that one band 100%. That’s why they churned out so much material and why all of it was so tight. There are pros and cons to both worlds. I would like to eventually be so busy with my own project that I don’t have the time or the need to play with everybody but then I’d probably miss it…. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

I read in an article on your website where you said that it can take five years after music school to find your own style. Where do you see (or hope to see) yourself and your music in five years?

I do think it takes a little time after music school to decompress and find your sound. Their job is to teach you everything and your job is to sift through the information and keep the parts you like. In 5 years I hope to have put out 3 albums and still have the same band I do now.

Here at HUB-BUB, we’re all about dynamic art and ideas, and we’re very close to our literary sister, the Hub City Writers Project. Are you inspired by art or literature in your composition, songwriting, or playing? How do the other arts feed your art?

I’m always in awe of people that can do something extremely well that I can’t do. Painting and sculpting definitely fits into that. I’m also inspired by instrument builders, furniture makers, and even chefs. I don’t know how much it affects my music but I can definitely appreciate a fine piece of art.

So, if you love music and you don’t mind an amazing fiddler, smooth voice, and incredible songs, I’d love to see you up near the stage with me next Friday. You’ll leave with a new favorite, if he’s not one already.

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Filed under HUB-BUB Staff, Kari Jackson

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