Saturday, June 13, 2020

#449 : Eric Hughes Band - Postcard from Beale Street


2020 – Endless Blues Records

By Phillip Smith; June 13, 2020


The first time I remember seeing Eric Hughes perform was in 2016 at Jerry Lawler’s Hall of Fame Bar & Grill on Beale Street in Memphis.  Lawler’s was having a soft grand opening and Beale Street was busy with festival-goers waiting for Memphis in May to commence.  Since then, I have made a point to catch him play whenever I am in the Bluff City.  I can usually find him playing at Rum Boogie CafĂ© or outdoors over at Central BBQ – Midtown during Sunday lunch.  His performances are engaging and his original songs are spectacular.  Postcard from Beale Street, the sixth release from the Eric Hughes Band, packs ten wonderful original songs spanning a diverse assembly of musical styles rooted in Americana and The Blues.  With Eric on vocals, harmonica, and guitar, the rest of the band consists of his brother Walter Hughes on guitar and backing vocals, bassist Leo Goff, and drummer Brian Aylor.  Also appearing on the album is Rick Steff on keys, Marc Franklin on trumpet, Kirk Smothers on saxophone, and Mick Kolassa on tussolin, spoons, and backing exclamations.

Leading the album off is a scrappy blues song called “Ain’t Whipped Yet”.  Walter’s guitar absolutely sings while Steff keeps it swinging on keys.  Hughes’ nostalgic ode to liquor “Oh Booze!” is simply marvelous.  The arrangement of the horns interestingly assists in capturing the essence of music from the early 20th century.  Walter breaks out some cool-as-hell Hendrix-like licks on “He’s Just an Alley Cat”.  This infectious blues-rocker is best heard at high volume.  I love “Follow Your Stupid Little Dreams”.  Not only is it a great mantra to live by, this delightful ditty keeps getting stuck in my head.    

The rhythm section is revved and topped with hot blasts of horns in “Fair Weather Friends”.  This rocking upbeat track ironically exposes those who bail on us when the party ends.  It’s Hughes’ storytelling songs like “Blackberry Patch” which define his artistry as a songwriter.  The imagery embedded in the song invokes memories of playing alone outdoors as a child.  I love the use of the resonator guitar on this one.  The song is indeed a favorite.

Eric Hughes has honed his craft by logging over 4,000 live performances on Memphis’ historical Beale Street.  That’s a feat in and of itself.  The music from Postcard from Beale Street is definitely reflective of that, and is a refreshing change of pace to listen to.                   

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : erichughesband.com

 

 

Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.





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