Mark Huff has rocked audiences everywhere and played with everyone throughout his multi-decade career – touring as a headliner throughout Europe (from the UK to Scandinavia) and North America countless times and opening for that proverbial who’s who of legends, from Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Chris Isaak to The Smithereens, Al Green and Peter Frampton.
The new music launched by the Nashville based Pop / Americana Rocker comes from new material inspired by in depth soul searching and is produced by Chad Brown, known for work with Ryan Adams, Faith Hill and the legendary Dr. John.
The tracks offered by Mark, “Made By Hand” and “Breaking Through” are individually delightful but together show the diversity and brilliance of Mark’s writing and performing ability.
Inspired by reading and meditating in solitude on the Psalms, “Made By Hand” is written from the point of view of God reflecting on both the grace/beauty of creation and the difficult challenges mankind presents. Huff sings, “Some Things I can’t understand/Slipping through my fingers just like sand/Walking on the water feels just like land/When everything, everything is made by hand.” The other track (which he calls the “B-side”) is the spirited, high energy rocker “Breaking Through,” whose melody came to him in a very different setting – while driving over to Ten Four Recording in Nashville for a session. It’s a playful tune about standing one’s ground about not getting too deep in a relationship. Gently needling those who play cowboy dress-up to impress people, he sings “I’m not your cowboy singer/Two steppin’ rhinestone emcee/I ain’t no dead ringer/You’ll never get your hooks in me.”
Mark’s music, known for lighthearted lyrics yet thoughtful creativity and a poetic symbolism often envied by his peers gives us music that inspires the listener o think and places said listener into the music, making it part of life, like breathing, it becomes necessary for life itself.
Though the upcoming album (his tenth overall) is currently in progress, Huff – who marks his 30th anniversary as a recording artist in 2019 – says the vibe will be very different from Stars for Eyes, which itself took a very unique stylistic approach compared to its predecessor, 2016’s electric Americana flavored EP Down River. “On the last record, I explained to Chad that I wanted to have a lot of keyboards, pedal steel and backing vocals, with an overall ethereal feel. For the new project, I’m focused on a louder, more muscular sound dominated by the electric guitar.”
Huff’s multi-faceted career extends back to the early 80s in his native Las Vegas, when he started his first original band, the popular punk and British Invasion inspired Smart Bomb. After some major label interest in the mid-80s, he released his first solo album Happy Judgment Day in 1989 and continued recording throughout the 90s, which he capped with Skeleton Faith (1999), which earned accolades in the annual fan driven Las Vegas City Life music poll. He developed passionate local fan base opening at the Hard Rock Hotel and House of Blues for numerous rock and soul icons.
“I love the cycle of making records and touring,” says Huff. “Being in a new place every night and sharing my songs and stories with people makes me feel alive. I thrive on it, and I love being able to meet so many interesting people along the way. I feel like my songwriting has never been better and I can approach storytelling from a different perspective because of so much life experience and seasoned tastes. I paid homage to Leonard Cohen on my last album with a version of his ‘Almost Like the Blues,’ and I always think about something he said: ‘Sometimes you’ve got to write shitty songs to get the good ones flowing again. And remember, a song is never finished.’ I’ve always believed there are two kinds of singers – the ones you believe and the ones you don’t. Anything that’s good stems from honesty. There are no laws about songwriting or making records. I have always tried to live free, allowing my work to take me where it will.”
Simply put, the music of Mark Huff is brilliant and shines with the brilliance of the stars above, and lights the way through dark times and reminds us, we are not alone.
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