Dillon Hodges - aka firekid
, aka master guitar champion of all things flatpicking and bluegrass (seriously, he has some serious credentials to back it up.) - recently sat down with our crew after impressing the hell out of us with this session.
Hodges hails from Muscle Shoals Alabama; an almost mythical corner of the country that has historically drawn musical luminaries like Aretha Franklin and the Stones to its' beacon and currently boasts an impressive crop of modern musicians who call it home (Jason Isbell, Alabama Shakes, The Civil Wars). Hodges himself didn't think much of such a cultural, embarrassment of riches while he was growing up. "I didn't know that the city I grew up in had any musical history at all," Dillon admitted. "When I was a senior in high school I started to make the connection. 'Wow, there are a lot of local bands from here', and when I traveled every little town didn't have 30 or 40 bands. There's not an active music scene", later adding, "there's something special about the Shoals because there is undeniably a lot of bands that come out of there."
Dillon recently released his self-titled, solo debut via Atlantic Records. It's a wonderfully inventive affair, pairing Dillon's love of traditional acoustics with all the fun technology that's available to modern musicians this day. The album ends on a bit of a "punchy" note though; a song called "American Dream", in which Dillon points lyrics like "They used to be a metal band until 2010/When they traded in their axes for a bass and mandolin." It's an brow-rising track, and well...we just had to ask about it.
"To be honest I love that Americana music is cool," Dillon told us. "But when I was growing up playing it wasn't cool. A lot of the kids that are making the music now were making heavy metal music and giving me a hard time about it. So now I see them playing in overalls and I'm like what are you doing?" What are they doing? Nothing nearly as cool as what this scruffy Alabaman has been doing for many, many years.