Cary Hudson's songs stand the test of time. The Mississippi singer/songwriter/guitarist cultivated a songwriting partnership with Wilco's John Stirrat many years ago in a group called The Hilltops. When Stirrat joined Uncle Tupelo, Hudson started Blue Mountain. Writer Larry Brown enjoyed the band so much he wrote liner notes to the 1997 album Homegrown.
Once Blue Mountain disbanded, Hudson embarked on a solo career in 2001. Seems To Me counts as Hudson's fourth solo studio work. It's been over three years since Hudson's last release. He said his intention on the acoustic-based Seems To Me was "To challange myself by recording solo live vocal and guitar the way my heroes Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt and Jimmie Rodgers did..."
Hudson's quiet acoustic guitar on "Storyville" begins Seems To Me. This tune about an old storyteller contains vivid images delivered by just Hudson and his guitar like "Down on the banks of the bayou in a dilapidated tarpaper shack/Lived a man who was older than dirt/I called him Uncle Jack/Uncle Jack used to chew tobacco/Spit into a coffee can/Told the most amazing stories/Mama said he was a dirty old man", establishes Hudson's penchant for songwriting.
The title track demonstrates Hudson's nimble fingers on a fretboard, and then he sings: "Down in New Orleans in my dirty blue jeans/Standing on the corner sippin' on a forty/Checking out a cat named Trombone Shorty". And then he travels to Amsterdam for a toke...
"That Old Magnolia Magic" captures Hudson's soulful intent. This ranks as one of this collection's finest songs that cover the Civil War, Jimmie Rodgers and a mystic river in this fine composition that also demonstrates Hudson's slide talent. "Skinnydipping" is just pure cutthroat blues...but the song evokes a sultry painting of a girl down by the water.
"Queen of the Road" reminds me a little of Townes Van Zandt. "Almost 7 (For Anna)", pays tribute to a young innocent girl. "Happy Place" continues the quiet acoustic thread of this collection. "My Lady of the Smile" sounds as if it might have been written in some forgotten Mexican cantina.
"Meet Me On the Other Side" sounds like it was recorded on the backporch of a old house somewhere near the swamp. You can almost hear the bull frogs. "Gimmie A Hug" casts a full moon glow on the soul of a hardworking family man. On the last track, "The Shadow", Hudson plays guitar and talks through the song to tell the tale of a woman not easily forgotten. Cary Hudson can spin some yarn...
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