Brian Hudson's Into the Black: Four Stars

The first lyrics sung on Brian Hudson’s new solo album, Into The Black, are “I just want a little distance” although you’ll later learn he is talking to alover he could just as easily be talking to his former folk power-group The Hudsons. Brian Hudson takes a break to bring his first solo performance; showcasing strongly his ability to deliver a story not unlike his own influential heroes, John Lennon and Bob Dylan.

The Hudsons have been performing while building a loyal fan base for the last 8 years whilst headlining folk festivals around the US and Canada. After winning the premier Songwriter Award from the University of Texas, the mayor of their hometown, Austin, cordially bestowed the honor of the “key to the city” and proclaimed officially a “Hudson’s Day” in November 2007.

Into the Black has many highlights but its obvious single is “I was a Fool”. This song could easily be a cross-format radio hit and is reminiscent of John Mayer’s “your body is a wonderland” with its catchy and emotional sensitivity. It tells the time-tried-and-true story of the heartbreak of a young man who loses the girl he loves thoroughly, through no fault but his own. Songs like “Walking Shoes” and “The Shield” make good use of multi-layered vocal harmonies; all the while Brian’s acoustic guitar easily melds hooks made from folk and classical styling that will surely have you hitting the repeat song key on your itunes more than once.

The title track “Into the Black” is reminiscent of Elliot Smith in its simplicity and conjures up Morrisseywhen he pines “what’s wrong with me…what can I do if I can’t be with you?” The song “Working for a Woman” seems to be the only song one could find any serious liability for being a tad cliché. Yet it still seems to be a favorite among the strong fan base of this artist. Maybe it’s his strong use of melody which allows his fans to forgive its well-worn lyrical content.

From start to finish Brian Hudson brings together many influences that many lesser men could have miserably failed and been easily forgotten ever-after. Fans of folk and acoustic tunes will instantly become spellbound. What caught me were the mordant and often brooding lyrics conveyed in pitch perfect incongruous up-beat melodies. We humble music fans have not heard the last of this intriguing artist, so stop what you’re doing and jump on the embryonic Brian Hudson tidal wave that is sure to follow and buy this album.

Conclusion: Brian Hudson has created something new from the scraps of his pop-folk influences that are sure to be contagious. Bottom line is, keep an eye out for this up and coming Texas artist.



Zak Winters