Kenny Hughes- Born And Raised
Reviewed by Duzzy Clayton
The other day you would have read my single track review of Kenny Hughes’- All Over Me, which was the lead single of the album Read HERE
Well, Now I am here to review the full Album by Kenny titled Born And Raised.
Now some of you may know I am a huge Kenny Hughes fan, so I didn’t want to sound biased when I review this album, but with my head on a block, I truly believe Kenny just gets better with every release, and this album is no different to that statement
Armed with 9 amazing tracks, Born and Raised is a phenomenal album from start to finish and in my opinion should be in the Rock/Blues fan collection
Starting with track 1, and as I said in my previous review of this lead single, All Over Me Starts with a bit of a rock drum sound to start the track off we then go straight into a bit of a bluesy guitar jam session and I think wow this is a groovy track right off the bat. Kenny starts to sing about two or three bars in with the awesome kind of voice that he has, and I think, there it is, there is that cool signature voice we have come to love. I am then taken back to the cool jam session that is happening within the song and I must I am enjoying the band and music that join him on the song `which I am told is Jayson Pieterse on bass guitar and Marais Swanepoel on drums. I always think a great jam session can be heard when the band is tight and knows their craft and Kenny and his band are evident to that., I am still only in the first verse, (okay I admit I have heard the song a few times by now) but I already know the words and find myself singing along to the verses, I normally only catch on to choruses because they are more catchy, and trust me by the time you get to this chorus you will hear it is catchy but just something about when Kenny sings and hits a few notes, that even the verse is groovy and catchy.
One thing to notice about this album, most songs were recorded and produced by Kenny’s long-time producer Evert Snyman but two tracks off the album, were recorded and produced by Jo Ellis, the first one being All Over Me, which I mentioned in track one, and the 2nd one I will mention when I tell you about that track.
Next up in track 2 is a nice song called She Knows, I was immediately taken back by the cool vibing riff intro, this song is a song you can dance to if you were to hear it be played live, Kenny’s voice and lyrics soon take over the song and it feels like everyone is having a good time while vibing to the song. Once again the instruments are played to perfection with even a cool bluesy guitar solo in the middle of the song, one thing I like about Kenny’s writing is his cool storytelling but also singing it in a cool vibe kind of way accompanied by great blues music.
Moving on to track 3, namely 1920, once again I am greeted with a cool guitar riff, heavy drums, and a bit of a jam session between the band members, I am kind of pleasantly surprised this song is but more of a mellow track with wholesome lyrics, I also feel this track might be a strong contestant as a single for radio stations, along with its cool lead solo, lyrics, and vocals, I love it
There is also a cool music video for 1920 which can be viewed HERE
Next up is one of my favorite tracks from Kenny Hughes, die-hard fans will know this song, namely Destiny was released as a single not so long ago, and from the word go of me hearing this song, I knew it was a hit, and I believe has done well on stations around the world including Banks Aus Radio and Mix Radio and as well as My radio show because I do like to play the track a lot and I am glad it made the album. If you want to read a past interview I did with Kenny where he speaks about this track, click HERE
Moving on to track 5, namely Wicked Ways, from the start of this song I am amazed by the cool guitar playing. Kenny’s voice and lyrics soon consume the song, I am captivated by the words, and I find Kenny seems to be speaking a lot about a certain woman and once again this song reins true how is he caught and captivated in the moment with this woman and how is going to fight for her, It is also one of my favorite tracks off the album, just by the poor awesome guitar playing alone, its a hit.
Track 6 namely, Midnight Man, is also a past single that has been released, read my review HERE on this single, but for the sake of this article and seeing I am revisiting the track, I am going to listen to it from start to finish and give my opinion with fresh ears. Once again great guitar playing to start it off, this song is a bit slower and mellow but still has a great vibe to it. Kenny Hughes comments about the track: ” I got the idea for ‘Midnight Man’ when I was briefly living in Bloemfontein. It was ahead of a festival ‘Rockin Bloem’, and I had a few friends over joining me at the fest. Whilst sitting around I strummed a few chord progressions and randomly sang what would become the chorus, ‘I’m a midnight man’. My good friend Phillru Van Achterbergh told me he liked the sound of that. Coupled with the chord progression and funky rhythm, he suggested I roll with it. The song was completed not long after. That’s essentially what the song is about, the fact that I do most of my best work after midnight. When the rest of the world is asleep, our creativity as musicians keeps us awake. As with most of my singles to date, ‘Midnight Man’ was recorded at Pariah Studios alongside the one and only Evert Snyman. The two of us made it what it is today.: Relating to the track I remember why I was such a fan of the track before, it is an amazing song, that starts slow but by the time you get to the guitar solo, you realize you’ve just been doing air guitar and rocking out to the lead solo playing in your ears. I am also glad it made the album.”
Track 7, namely, Run Along, I know I keep saying this but the guitar playing especially in the intros of songs is so well done and if I could play the guitar half as good as this I would be happy, I guess that is why Kenny and his band are the professionals I am here the reviewer and in awe. Run Along is one of those songs with guitar playing, it has a very cool beat along with inspiring lyrics, and it is a cool song on the album.
Track 8, which is called Blues Truth, and remember at the beginning of this review when I said two of the nine tracks were produced and recorded by Jo Ellis, well this track is the 2nd track recorded and produced by him, I can hear the difference in both jo and Evert, but I can say they both great at thier craft and both helped shape this album what it is, a master piece, so back to the track, I am told that is also the very first song Kenny Hughes ever wrote about the struggles of being a working fukk time musician, but he was so early in the game, he hadnt actually expeinced the struggles of being a working musician YET but somehow had in sight or just a feeling on how it might be and so this song was born, Now I got to say this song is maazing, from the music to the vocals, to the lyrics, Yes espically the lyrics, and to think this was his first ever song, no wonder Kenny Hughes has become a house hold name in a lot of music lovers music colection. Blues Truth is exactly that though, a great blues song and Kenny does that very cool storytelling brilliantly once again of the life of a working musician, this song has everything, the slow blues guitar sound, and solo, the magical lyrics and vocals to go with it, I know Just Jinjer isn’t a blues band but on their 1st album All Comes Round, they got a blues song on their album called Traffic Light Blues, and this song takes me back to that time of my teens and first understanding the Blues, from a Rock band .
Track 9 and the final and last song on the album, which is called Last Stand, and I feel this is an appropriate way to end the album, there is no jam session at the beginning of at least one bar of guitar playing before vocals come in, no this song starts right off the bat with the music and Kenny’s vocals. It is a very catchy song and once giving it a good listen a few times I find myself mouthing words and lyrics to the song. There are some cool female backing vocals here and there but what I want to say about this song and all the other tracks before it, is the quality of the recording and producing of the song, it is Top Notch and it is very evident in this song and it makes a great way to end of an amazing album.
Born and Raised is an amazing album from start to finish and I would like to congratulate everyone who worked on it, you are all so talented and this is a special album, that makes me very proudly South African, so whether you driving n your car, partying at home or just listening to the album on your own, if you a Blues lover, or just a music lover for that matter, make sure this album is in your collection, you might just find your self listening to it on repeat as I have been.