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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?
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