CD review: Hudson is a master songwriter

CD review: Hudson is a master songwriter
 

Brian Hudson’s new release, “Into The Black,” came to fruition in a kind of meandering way. 

The writing started almost two years ago with songs meant for his former group The Hudsons. When that ensemble went kaput after eight years of togetherness, he kept writing and recording, not really sure where the results would end up. 

Pecking away, recording alone in an Austin, Texas, studio after hours, he developed 20 songs. He would work on one until he got tired of it, then move on to another one. He continually felt the songs were not complete and still needed work. Only when the studio became unavailable did he put a wrap on the project. 

Without the necessary capital to fund the mastering, manufacturing and distribution, Hudson went to Kickstarter.com, and with the help of 36 investors/backers he acquired online, he received the $4,000 needed to get the project down the road and into listeners’ hands. 

The results are well worth the circuitous development. 

Nobody, but nobody, writes songs of relationship disillusionment better than Hudson. 

If you’ve ever been in a relationship in which you were uncomfortable, felt trapped, even stifled, but couldn’t bring yourself to cut the cord, then “Into The Black” is a record you will cherish. 

“A Little Distance” has a hushed quality, in a song about a pairing that started out well but is now a charade. Like a duo who perform together but can’t stand each other (Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin or Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee) and when the curtain goes down, each partner can’t wait to go his separate way: “I hear you talking, saying things, and I sit and clench my teeth.”

“Working For A Woman” is a hen-pecked guy who has some serenity and is OK with his lot.

“Walking Shoes” is someone who’s been used by a woman who got her education at his expense and in the process gave him an education of her own.

“The Shield” is a relationship going nowhere with one half of the parties simply too guarded to allow the other half in: “And all the kindness in the world could never be enough, ’cause you’ve got a shield between yourself and everyone you love.”

“I’ll Thank You” is a plea to cut the tie that binds and please move on, because we’ll both be happier: “Anger only lasted ’til I learned to fake the smile, while waiting on an everlasting trial.”

“The American Dream” is seductive in its fragility with the realization that though the narrator doesn’t desire it, flying solo is his fate: “Every garden I have sown and showered with my love has gone to weed.”

Half of me empathizes with the plight of the characters in Hudson’s songs. Half of me thinks they need to grow a pair and move on.

Know that Hudson writes great songs. His ability to match lyrics and music is exemplary, and his lyrics seem disarmingly insightful in that uncomfortable way of someone who doesn’t know you, but seems to really get you.

The stripped down, understated, acoustic style here (though probably a function of economics as much as arrangement choices) is perfect for the disillusionment of the text. There is an uninhibited solemnity that pervades each song and makes even the made-up parts seem very real, while the real parts seem to “pop” in high def.

If you happen to be madly in love, try Rachael Kilgour’s “Will You Marry Me?” If you’re not, then “Into The Black” gets my highest recommendation.

John Ziegler has worked in the music industry for 36 years as a radio host, interviewer, record producer and professional musician.

 

John Ziegler