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# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Cary Hudson - Cool Breeze

  by Emma Haigh

published: 23 / 7 / 2004

Cary Hudson - Cool Breeze
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Format: CD


Compelling debut album from new Glitterhouse label signing, Cary Hudson, the lack of sophistication which proves to be its greatest asset and flaw

It’s hard not to be a little indier-than-thou when you first hear the honky-tonk burst in the opening chords of 'Cool Breeze' that slap you as they rush past. The diesel-choked vocals, gospel chorusline, and slapping slide guitar grate painfully against my delicate twee-sensitive inclinations. And just as I started fearing the worst, the unashamedly rock-a-billy slash and burn eases gracefully into maudlin reminiscence. The extreme contrasts between the 4x4 thrash of 'Things Ain’t What They Used to Be' and the tension of the respectful tribute of 'What the Old Man Told Me' are revealing; the shift between countrified raunch and a gift for poignant anecdotals marks a continuing feature of the album. As 'Cool Breeze' progresses I find myself increasingly anticipating the next chapter of this incredibly sincere chronicle of life in rural Southern States, unfolded with by the deep and easy drawling voice of former Blue Mountain front man Cary Hudson. While it’s hard not to be drawn into Hudson’s warmth and honesty, some of the lyrics remain concedingly amateur taking rhyming schemes perhaps a little too seriously. Lines like "Playing pool at the local bar You rack them up and chalk your cue and be the champ for a game or two… You get drunk, you start to scratch You lost your stroke and you met your match don’t it hurt to lose and turn and walk away with the 8-ball blues" (8 Ball Blues) make for a pretty paltry metaphor for the game (ha ha) of life. I point out this song in particular as it is obviously supposed to be a cautionary tale about alcoholism and the dangers of getting caught in a downward spiral, yet it’s brought down by its rather slipshod lack of depth. The lack of sophistication , however, in 'Jellyroll' ("My baby shakes me up/ She fills my loving cup/ She loves to rock and roll and she got jellyrol"’) works well. The intimacy and crass humour in this gritty little love song eulogising the "jellyrolls" that sit on a lover’s hips, is both endearing and evocative. Similarly the childish sensibilities of 'Little Darlin’, a heartbreaking lullaby to his child about all the things they’ll do when he gets back from touring, are entirely appropriate. He interjects side stories of the watermelon man on the side of the road ("gonna make a truckload of money, and take it home to his honey’") and swimming in the Bowie River ("I hope I don’t see a snake"), which serve both to add visual depth to the outside listener, and to speak directly to his daughter while he’s gone. As his lyrical style swaps easily between brash deep-throated raunch to literary balladry, the instrumentals swing too. Harpooned with howling harmonica and thumping gravelly drums, J'ellyroll' and 'Ain’t Know Tellin’ revel gloriously in their voracious trashiness and unassuming brawn. 'Cool Breeze' and 'Free State of Jones' are both layered with the plucky twang of banjos and panting bounce of highhats lending a frontier effect to their stories of high hopes and travel. On the other hand, the plaintive yodel and whining slide guitar in 'Haunted House Blues', and the combination of Hudson’s mournful vocals matched with a strumming mandolin in 'Don’t Hasten Away' is almost Shakespearean in its metrical candor have yet to fail to reduce me to quiet introspection. While hardly breaching poetic complexity, the lack of sophistication is charmingly sincere, and engagingly witty. With the poignancy of Neil Young and hardnailed honesty of Johnny Cash, Hudson spins roots rock into crisply evocative yarns about rural Deep South.

Track Listing:-
1 Things Aint What They Used To Be
2 What the Old Man Told Me
3 Cool Breeze
4 8 Ball Blues
5 Jellyroll
6 Little Darlin'
7 Bay St. Blues
8 Ain't No Tellin'
9 Free State of Jones
10 Don't Hasten Away
11 Haunted House Blues
12 Some Things Never Change

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