Donna Hughes: Hellos Goodbyes and Butterflies

Album review
Donna Hughes: Hellos Goodbyes and Butterflies

Donna Hughes

Hellos Goodbyes & Butterflies

Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

The animating conceit of Donna Hughes’s unsettling new album is expressed early on, in the bustling, minor-key bluegrass epistle titled “Nothing Easy,” in which the artist, one of the most compelling songwriters in roots music, wearily laments yet another untenable romance, sighing lowly, “there’s nothing easy about love.” Thus the theme Hughes explores with devastating precision and unsparing detail herein. With some of the top bluegrass musicians of our time at her disposal—the likes of Rob Ickes, Andy Steffey, Aubrey Haynie, Barry Bales, Scott Vestal, et al.—Hughes offers 15 new original songs howling at the pain of betrayal (“Mid-life Crisis”), examining the epic ache of irreconcilable differences (“Longing For You”), mourning the dearly departed (a father, in “Saying Hello”), and in a way even linking the rapacious pirate Blackbeard to the rogues’ gallery of men whose woeful behavior has laid her low (in the pulsating, banjo-and-mandolin- fired story-song “Blackbeard”). Hughes’s warm, mountain voice has the right blend of certitude and vulnerability to add vivid dimension to her lyrics, and producer J.D. Crowe puts it front and center in a big, clean ensemble soundscape that, like Hughes’ stories, is marvelously shaded in the light and dark hues of a conflicted interior soliloquy. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Donna Hughes
  • CD

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