Grayson Hugh - An American Record

Grayson Hugh
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Grayson Hugh called his new album An American Record for a reason. One listen tells you why. An American Record features funk, blues, country, rock, zydeco, folk, jazz, soul and R&B music with a little bit of gospel mixed in. Basically, any kind of authentically American music that has and been a part of this country's musical soundtrack for more than a century can be found on this recording.

For those who first got introduced to Hugh's soulful and raspy voice from his 1989 blue-eyed soul smash "Talk It Over," An American Record's amalgamation of sounds may come as a shock. For those who knew a little more about Hugh's biography, the new record will not be nearly as shocking. Having that background knowledge will make it a more pleasing experience from the outset. However, patience will reward those who lost track of Hugh after he stopped being a presence in the early 1990s.

Grayson Hugh called his new album An American Record for a reason. One listen tells you why. An American Record features funk, blues, country, rock, zydeco, folk, jazz, soul and R&B music with a little bit of gospel mixed in. Basically, any kind of authentically American music that has and been a part of this country's musical soundtrack for more than a century can be found on this recording.

For those who first got introduced to Hugh's soulful and raspy voice from his 1989 blue-eyed soul smash "Talk It Over," An American Record's amalgamation of sounds may come as a shock. For those who knew a little more about Hugh's biography, the new record will not be nearly as shocking. Having that background knowledge will make it a more pleasing experience from the outset. However, patience will reward those who lost track of Hugh after he stopped being a presence in the early 1990s.

The fact of the matter is that there is a lot of soul, blues, R&B and funk on this album. Songs like "Give Me One Good Reason" and "Long and Lonely Night" will reintroduce fans to the soulful crooner many of us first met in 1989. "Tell Me How You Feel," is a rollicking blues, soul and gospel tune that shows where the barrelhouse blues meets the Baptist and sanctified church. The song features an extensive blues/jazz solo and ends with an energetic Hugh calling out from the pulpit of love how much he needs his woman's love. The song then takes listener to the church choir stand with band playing some ‘shouting and handclapping music." "Give Me One Good Reason" revives the lost art of the soul duet with Hugh and his wife, Polly Messer, taking turns leading the song.

For those willing to move out of their comfort zone, An American Record features solid work in other genres. "Evangeline" is a nice mid-tempo country tune that tells the story of how the love of a beautiful and good woman inspired the singer to leave a dead end town while "Zoe On the T Train" is a rock song that tells of an encounter with a woman on a train. Other strong songs include "Bluewhite" and " North Ohio."

Grayson Hugh hails from a family of musicians and actors. The vocalists in his family sang everything from classical to show tunes. Hugh definitely inherited the family's musical curiosity - a characteristic that doesn't always get rewarded in today's music market. People have limited time to listen, and they often spend it listening to the known quantity. Fortunately, there is a lot of quality soul on An American Record, and a lot of other good music as well. This is a journey through America that is worth a try. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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