Singer-songwriter Tod Hughes, born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, who now lives with his family in Calgary, Canada, and his bare-it-all storytelling has earned him a local following. Now with his new LP release, he is aiming to reach a broader audience with his sound.
Hughes shows his chops with his poignant storytelling in his newly released LP, Time Slow Down. His latest record portrays a poet on the verge of something great, as he plays with his consciousness and inspirations to create a highly upbeat and timeless roots album. Hughes has spun a record that gives bursts of folk rock intermixed with country lovin’ fun and a bit of honky-tonk and blues. Prior to his LP release,Time Slow Down emerges from his experiences with his first EP, entitled, Changing Gears, with his latest LP released as a cohesive follow-up to the songs that celebrated life and death in his first EP. AlthoughTime Slow Down grapples with the same topics, it seems Hughes has provided room in the album to show the growth and changes that he has gained from making the initial EP.
Open-heartedly, there’s a timeless quality to Hughes’ vocals as he sings with swarthy rigor about summer nights and how time flies in the title and first track, “Time Slow Down,” keeping audiences heads spinning as they try to keep time to the beat that seems to about to escape them. “One of a Kind” requires heavy backing from the instruments with the vocals resonating and like the songs says is, “full of life.” The track has Latin connotations with the bongos moving toward a sunny sound and the twang of guitar keys livening the mood. The strumming backbeat of the string instruments are stirring and it adds this heady and hearty uplifting folk rock and roots sound that is definitely straight from the heart. It is a blistering sound and is best described as a swarthy stew that is a mish-mash of distinct deep earthy flavors that you could tell is made soulfully.
There’s something old-school to “Nothing Too Obscure,” the third track to the dynamic roots rock album. The similarities to Bob Dylan in these “country songs” offer excitement and a bit of richness that you can’t just get off of any old block. There is something obscure and yet fun lovin’ in these songs, and in this instance, Hughes takes listeners on a fearless ride that speaks with certainty.
“Drinking Coffee at a Hipster Place” has a contrived and expectant vibe to it already without really going into the sound. But for the most part, the track has a jazzy open with a heart-warming rock ‘n’ roll and rollicking sound. The track artfully teases listeners with its upbeatness, that the band backing up Hughes, who goes by the name, Tod Hughes Project, might be getting spent soon, but in reality, the track indeed shows that the band is in no mood of slowing down.
In “Real You and Me” Hughes vocals laments the some of the situations that might happen to certain folks. His tone is characterized by a mourning sound as he sings about characters who might have fallen on a bit of bad luck and hard times. “Worth Waiting” comes in with sudden force and with the wailing of violins, depicts the listless, sullen quality of waiting around too long for someone.
Like an earthy stew that someone has put together with some vegetables, beef, and potatoes, Hughes’ latest project is produced through the roots of something that is heavy and hearty. The mixture is oftentimes tantalizing with veins of truth spiraling throughout the songs.
In a way, Time Slow Down is sort of a live album. One can only imagine the fun and thrill of seeing Hughes and his local band, Tod Hughes Project, live in concert from listening to the songs. The album definitely captures the exhilarating sound of a lively band enjoying their time in the limelight as they hit it while the spotlight of the stage is upon them. From memorable tracks like “Nothing Too Obscure,” whose searing harmonies and lyrics resonate and have a marked quality that specifies them with a unique sound to the weighty strings of violins playing in “Worth Waiting” that becomes more and more insistent that further signifies their sound, there is something driven about Tod Hughes’ project with his latest LP release, Time Slow Down.
Like from the violins in the aforementioned track, there is a dogged quality that comes from Hughes beseeching vocals. Something that is adamant and nearly clogged with ambition. With a band that he has formed from local musicians and a strong and loyal following from fans from the local community, Hughes’ debut LP has the signatures of a band striving for something arresting that will be profound enough to establish them in the fore-front with other front-runners in the race to make them a household name. With such a live and fun sound, it seems like nothing much stands between Tod Hughes and fame. 8.2/10