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Jedd Hughes

Transcontinental – 2004 (MCA Nashville)

Reviewed by Greg Milliken

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CDs by Jedd Hughes

Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist Jedd Hughes cut his chops on the road as a guitarist in Patty Loveless' band. On his debut, Hughes steps out on his own with an offering that seamlessly spans country, pop and Americana genres.

Hughes opens with the bright, 60's pop-influenced "I'm Your Man" and gets Paul Simon-ish with the sensitive "I'll Keep Movin'." But Hughes quickly demonstrates he knows his way around a roadhouse with "I Don't Have A Clue" and "Snake In The Grass." He's at his purest country in the closer "Luxury Liner," but it's Gram Parsons country - not Merle or Buck - and it's a song well suited to Hughes' style and talents. On occasion, Hughes' youthful voice fails to imbue lines such as "I could never drink enough to drink you off my mind" with the gravity the lyrics call for, but this is a minor complaint. Everything else about this debut effort is right on target, from Terry McBride's production to the CD's attractive and informative packaging.

Genre-spanning artists have often looked for refuge in country music, and country has usually been a generous host. But few performers from outside the States have found a lasting home there. "Transcontinental" could help this Aussie settle in for the long run.