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MARK HUFF –STARS FOR EYES (Self-Released)

www.therealmarkhuff.com

Americana country with dashes of rock is what you get when you place a Mark Huff record on your player, and with his insatiable appetite to stir things up and push outward he reminds me somewhat of journeyman Mark Olsen and the like. Hugely innovative, and as mentioned a man not to rest on his laurels, Huff and a list of esteemed pickers is ever brave.

And those musicians are Doug Lancio, electric, acoustic guitar; Russ Pahl, pedal steel, jaw Harp; Mike Vargo, bass, background vocals; Micah Hulscher. Piano, electric piano, Organ, Roland Juno 6), Gabriel Rabben, drums, synthesizer; Matthew Burgess, percussion plus backing vocals from a bunch of Nashville session acts.  

Huff is one of those hard-working singer-songwriters; ever trying to prise the envelope and create music awash in soulful meaning. “Carolina Blue” is the third track, and the best of the opening trio. Stronger still is “Big City Down” as he hits the listener with a moody set of lyrics, and with them warmed in pedal, piano and an engaging rhythm Huff powers through. 

On bringing a little twang to the table Huff gets even better on the infectious “Nightingale”. Rich in pedal steel, electric lead guitar and piano, plus female harmony vocals the urgent tempo rounds off one of his finest efforts. Mixing the tempo of the tracks see him become mellow on “Heart Beating Without You”, and with songs “Burning Letters” ; a well primed brooding country tune warmed in a little rock and aptly entitled “Almost Like The Blues” Huff gains significant inroads into the heart of the listener. In ringing the changes Huff is one of those acts who may find his diverseness on occasions a hindrance as he falls between categories

    Maurice Hope   

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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