Aussie guitar slinger Jedd Hughes makes an auspicious debut here, co-writing all 11 cuts on "Transcontinental" and showcasing chops aplenty.

Aussie guitar slinger Jedd Hughes makes an auspicious debut here, co-writing all 11 cuts on "Transcontinental" and showcasing chops aplenty. Like his triple-threat brethren Vince Gill and Keith Urban, Hughes has a sure sense of melody, though he tilts more toward poppier fare than either artist on the lush and bouncy "I'm Your Man," the driving "I Don't Have a Clue" and "Damn! You Feel Good." Hughes' versatile guitar shows impressive rock edge on "Snake in the Grass," funky pluck on "High Lonesome" and tuneful soul on "Time to Say Goodnight (Sweet Dreams Baby)." He is also a more-than-serviceable vocalist, and producer Terry McBride places Hughes' voice nicely upfront in the mix. This tack works particularly well in giving an intimate feel to the superb "Soldier for the Lonely" and the piano-based ballad "The Only Girl in Town." Hughes wraps the set with a hard-charging take on Gram Parsons' "Luxury Liner," proving he has taste and style. This guy's only going to get better, and he's plenty good now.—RW

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print