DIARY - 4 SEPTEMBER 2004 - JEDD HUGHES
HUGHES - WINS WAR ON FOREIGN SHORE
a soldier, trained and conditioned/ served my time but I didn't lose this
mission/ fighting a war, think I'm the only soldier for the lonely."
- Soldier For The Lonely - Jedd Hughes-Terry McBride-Jennifer Kimball.
South Australian guitarist and singer-songwriter Jedd Hughes made
an important decision as a teenager - to attend the South Plains College
in the Texas Panhandle.
The Levelland uni near Lubbock offered a bluegrass music course -
a subject never likely to be fashionable in the hits and memories
mausoleums of his homeland.
"I had serious singing lessons for the first time in my life,"
latter day Nashville resident Hughes revealed on the release of his
debut disc Transcontinental (MCA).
confidence in my playing and singing and more confidence as human being."
Now, the singer is reaping the riches of following in the slipstream of
expatriates Keith Urban, Kym Warner and Carol Young and their Austin band
As a producer Warner, also a South Australian refugee, hired him to play
guitar on Mabelle - the second album by Henrietta born Austin singer
That acclaimed Hightone disc also features Young on harmonies.
It was in Texas that Hughes met prolific hit songwriter Terry McBride
of McBride & The Ride - the duo wrote over 80 songs between April
2002 and March 2003.
Other major acts cut some of their compositions but they retained 20 tunes
for Jedd's album.
Ten songs with other writers diverse as Texan troubadour and one time
Aussie tourist Bruce Robison, Billy Burnette, Josh Leo, Jennifer Kimball
and Tommy Lee James survived the cull.
And it was no surprise the other coalminer's daughter Patty Loveless harmonised
on the metaphoric gem Soldier For The Lonely.
six weeks after departing Texas for Tennessee the singer successfully
auditioned for the acoustic guitar role in Loveless's band for the
Down From The Mountain tour.
Such hot picking didn't go unnoticed - it attracted the attention
of Alison Krauss & Union Station members Dan Tyminski and Ron
Block who added their vocals to original songs The Only Girl
In Town, High Lonesome and not so cryptic Snake In The Grass.
Hughes blends traditional bluegrass with eclectic roots country
- a sweet staple of Americana stations that are an alternative to
It's a far
cry from his first overseas gig at the age of 12 to represent Australia
at a three week International Music Festivals in Europe.
But, like Urban, it's his musicianship that enabled him to play guitar
and lap steel on his debut disc and maybe soar as fast as the expatriate
Australasian whose fifth album Be Here is due out this month.
Special guests include pedal steel guitarists Dan Dugmore and Russ Pahl,
also on banjo, and bassist McBride.
Hughes was born at Quorn - a small town north of Adelaide - and is in
no danger of forgetting his roots.
dedicates this album to the late Australian guitarist Barry Thornton
who toiled in the outback and studio with Slim Dusty.
Hughes father weaned him on the music of Slim and American icons Johnny
Cash and Marty Robbins.
When he wasn't listening to music at home, much of his childhood was
spent onstage. At the age of eight he won first place at the Port
Pirie Country Music Festival.
< Jedd Hughes
later, his dad gave him a few guitar lessons, and by age 10, he was playing
a custom-made acoustic guitar.
At 12, he represented Australia on a three-week tour of Europe, performing
at the International Music for Youth festivals held in France, Belgium
His early teens involved practicing guitar for hours and waiting for his
voice to change.
One night, he heard the Ricky Skaggs song Country Boy on the radio
and was hooked on Skaggs' rapid-fire blend of country and bluegrass.
Warner, a bluegrass mandolin champion, introduced Hughes to some of the
greats of bluegrass music.
He heard the sounds of Tony Rice, Del McCoury and Ralph Stanley and was
taken with the music's purity.
Hughes was also drawn to country legends like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard
travelled throughout his teenage years as a sideman with various country
FROM DUSTY TRAIL TO TEXAS PANHANDLE
his high school dreams to fly the coop and attend the bluegrass course
at South Plains College in Levelland near Lubbock.
Terry McBride discovered Hughes while conducting a workshop at the college
and the rest is history.
Jedd returned to Texas in June with Vince Gill, Dan Tyminski and Marty
Stuart to perform at the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas.
He played a solo acoustic set at Friday night's VIP reception before joining
Stuart for a Sunday afternoon appearance with legendary guitarist James
Burton at the three day festival at the Cotton Bowl.
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