Patterson Hood may not be Americas poet laureate, but hes pretty close when youre talking about the dark end of the street. When it comes to evoking the hopes, dreams and fears of folks desperate enough to make Tom Waits look upper-crust, the Drive-By Truckers co-leader is your man. Hoods latest solo album Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance (ATO Records) tones down the Truckers flat-out roar just a bit, all the better to draw those characters in vivid detail. Hoods raspy howl and dead-on verisimilitude makes Heat Lightning feel as much like a nonfiction documentary as a record. He plays live at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Carrboro ArtsCenter, and tickets are $15 ( artscenterlive.org for details). Hell also be back in the area to play March 5 with the Drive-By Truckers at Saxapahaws Haw River Ballroom ( hawriverballroom.com).