Kenny Hughes – New Album ‘Born and Raised’

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Release Date: 19th January

Review by Linda McDermott

For bluesy rock music it doesn’t get much better than South African singer-songwriter Kenny Hughes and The Kenny Hughes Trio and with the soon-to-be-released album ‘Born and Raised’ he is out to prove it.

Kenny has been on the music scene for 7 years with music that epitomises the essence of South African Blues Rock. As a travelling singer-songwriter, Kenny and his band have captivated audiences at venues, festivals, and events all over. He has released eight singles, three of them making the number-one spot in the South African Top 40 as well as chart entries in the UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia.

The Band are:

Kenny Hughes – Vocals/Guitar

Jayson Pieterse – Bass

Marais Swanepoel – Percussion

This album follows Kenny Hughes’ evolution as an artist, skilfully blending soulful Blues with Rock undertones. The ‘Born & Raised’ album offers seven of his single releases along with a couple of new tracks.

Album Tracks 1. All Over Me 2. She Knows

3. 19:20 4. Destiny 5. Wicked Ways 6. Midnight Man 7. Run Along 8. Blues Truth 9. Last Stand

Let’s go through the album track by track.

‘All Over Me’, is a soulful song with captivating guitar weaving through a rhythmic drumbeat, that creates a groovy laid-back feel that eases you into the album. The lyrics tell a tale of Kenny’s attempt to impress an ex-girlfriend by writing her a song. Kenny says of the song “My fiancé (not the same lady) loves the track and convinced me to record it, after all these years of playing it all over the country. ‘All Over Me’ is therefore a song about a beautiful, dangerous girl”.

‘She Knows’ released in 2021 continues the groove but with an important message about what mankind is doing to the environment and the fact that the elements, water, earth, fire, and air are sending us warning signs.

’19:20′ with an impressive tonal range full of emotion the song describes the exhausting turbulent years of covid, isolation and the effect it has had as we try to move forward.

‘Destiny’ This bluesy rock tune seamlessly blends funky rhythms with groovy elements, creating a dynamic and soulful vibe including emotional guitar riffs, and expressive vocals that capture the essence of the genre.

‘Wicked Ways’ is another laid-back tune with guitar playing reminiscent of Eric Clapton. This was the first single released on streaming platforms for Kenny back in 2019 and is about staying on the right and honourable path and avoiding wicked ways that may present themselves!

‘Midnight Man’ takes us to the artistic side of Kenny’s work and the fact that he does most of his best work after midnight when the rest of the world is asleep, his creativity as a musician keeps him awake. This track starts off with gentle guitar notes and a soft drum beat before it gradually builds and is filled with great riffs and an energetic rhythm at the end. The track complements the album, contributing a cohesive flavour to the band’s repertoire.

‘Run Along’ We all have people who inspire us, and Kenny is no exception. For this track, he has taken inspiration from a few of the guitarists that motivated him to pick up a guitar and start playing. Kenny says “The first verse describes my search for the Blues. I could recognise a Blues tune, as something that I wanted to create. I knew it as the sound I loved, but I never knew about different genres and therefore hadn’t been properly introduced to “the Blues”. “Looking for a man with an old song” is exactly what I mean. Looking for that stereotypical old man, sitting on his New Orleans porch, smoking a Marlboro and playing the blues, telling me what it means to be a blues musician. This is a recurring dream I’ve had, over and over and I blame the 1988 movie “Crossroads” for this”. It’s a great movie and I can see how it would inspire musicians from all walks of life.

‘Blues Truth’ The penultimate song is the first song he wrote and it’s a cracker. This song is the song that encapsulates that sleazy laid-back blues sound. The lyrics are about the truth behind being a musician and how it is different from what people perceive it to be. The guitar playing and riffs in this song are exceptional.

‘Last Stand’ In this bluesy anthem Kenny takes centre stage with clear vocals, belting out a soulful reflection on personal responsibility and destiny. The captivating beat sets the rhythm, while expressive guitar playing adds a poignant touch. This track, the last single release, encapsulates a message of empowerment, driving home the point that we are the architects of our own fate. The fusion of compelling lyrics, soulful vocals, and a great beat makes it an unforgettable track.

Kenny Hughes and his band encapsulate everything bluesy rock, from the beat running throughout to the guitar riffs and exquisite storytelling, making this album one to add to your collection.

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