Patterson Hood doesn't need a reason to hit the road. The singer-songwriter and co-founder of the rock band Drive-By Truckers has been playing music for more than 30 years, and solo winter tours have become part of his routine.
"It's become an annual tradition for me to do a solo run in early December after the band wraps up for the year," Hood said. "I will be by myself, touring in a rental car with just a guitar and a microphone."
Hood's no-frills jaunt begins in New Orleans, where he'll perform Thursday, Nov. 29, at One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St. Doors open at 7 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30-$40.
When Hood thinks about the city, he remembers how Drive-By Truckers was the last band to play Tipitina's in late August 2005, before Hurricane Katrina hit. The band returned in 2006 to perform at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience and at a benefit concert for the venue on Napoleon Avenue.
"New Orleans is definitely one of my favorite cities in the world," Hood said. "We have a long, wonderful history there."
Unlike those cathartic and loud gigs with the Truckers, Thursday night's show will be more casual. What songs fans can expect to hear depends on how Hood feels at that moment on stage.
"I never do a set list, so every show is different," he said. "I'm sure I'll pull songs from the entire Drive-By Truckers catalog, from the first album all the way to new songs we just recorded for the next album, as well as songs from all three of my solo albums."
Speaking of Hood's solo albums, his last one, "Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance," was released in 2012. However, the musician is always working on new material.
"I have written a lot of my next solo album," Hood said. "But it will be a little while before I have time to record it. Maybe around 2021."
If the suggested date gives you pause, cut Hood some slack. Over the past six years, Hood has relentlessly toured behind his own songs while recording and gigging with Drive-By Truckers. In 2016, the Athens, Georgia-based group released its politically charged, critically acclaimed album, "American Band."
Hood also took time to reunite with members of the first band he played with, Adam's House Cat. After the project had been abandoned for more than 20 years, the group released its "lost album," "Town Burned Down," in September.
"It was a wonderful experience," Hood said of reconnecting with Adam's House Cat. "We finally put the album out after 27-plus years, and we got to play a few shows. One show was with the original drummer, Chuck Tremblay, who was kinda the heart and soul of that band."
Like Hood's solo songs and those with the Truckers, "Town Burned Down" is Southern-tinged rock that doesn't mind taking a political stance or reckoning with the unclear morality of his surroundings. The album is a reminder that Hood has and always will use music to face his troubles.
"Writing about horrific things is my way of dealing with the worst things that life brings," he said. "It's literally how I process the bad s***. Writing the song is part of the healing for me, and I always hope that it has an effect on other people around me."
But when it comes to more politically charged material, Hood says the writing process can be more difficult.
"It's a daily struggle," he said, of how he keeps from getting bogged down the barrage of bad news. "I'd say I have mixed results on that one."
Though Hood was born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, he lived in Athens for more than 20 years before moving this summer to Portland, Oregon. Even if he's on the opposite side of the country, he still finds himself keeping up with the political pulse of those Southern states, including the recent elections.
"Unfortunately, I pay a lot of attention to those things," he said. "I was very encouraged by a lot of the changes on a national scale, but way less so in Alabama and Georgia. The way (Brian) Kemp manipulated the laws in his behalf in Georgia was horrific, even on the scale of how screwed up things are right now."
In the midst of it all, Hood still finds inspiration for the next batch of songs. If everything goes according to schedule, those new tracks will come from Drive-By Truckers next year.
"We recorded 15 songs in Memphis, Tennessee, at Sam Phillips Recording Service back in September for a new album that I expect to release by next fall," he said. "We're all really excited about what we recorded. It is musically the most adventurous album we've ever made. Maybe lyrically too."
An Evening with Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 29. Doors at 7 p.m. Show at 8 p.m.
WHERE: One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., New Orleans