In the 60s, if you had a love for popular music, you couldn’t have asked for a better decade. When else in history could you have been exposed to such a wide spectrum of music—rock n’ roll, Motown, pop, folk, jazz, country? In High School, a single radio station play list might have included the Beatles, the Doors, the Temptations, Burt Bacharach, Cat Stevens, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Johnny Cash. This was the fertile environment from which I emerged a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and keyboardist.

Early influences included Stephen Stills, sometimes called “Captain Many Hands,” because he was such an accomplished singer, guitarist, and keyboard player. I also admired Paul Simon’s Baroque songwriting and guitar style and Art Garfunkel’s elegant vocal arrangements. And then there were the Beatles. Here were beautifully crafted songs about loneliness and alienation (Eleanor Rigby, Day in the Life), vulnerability (I’m a Loser, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away), and refreshingly rational political views (Revolution). Later, like many of my generation, I discovered Elton John and Bernie Taupin, who introduced listeners to an entirely new musical pallet. Here’s a list of my favorite songs.

During my college years, I formed an acoustic duet with Lance Henderson, which we dubbed Cardinal (for the songbird). Back in the 70s in Albuquerque, there was such a vibrant live music scene, and numerous “listening” clubs flourished. At clubs like The Monastery, Gordon’s Library Lounge, and Ned’s, Cardinal played cover tunes by Loggins & Messina, Seals and Crofts, Elton John, America, CSN, and the Beatles.

After college, I re-entered the music business in 1980, and co-founded a New Wave band called The Shakers in which I played synthesizers, piano, and electric guitar, and wrote and arranged the Band’s original songs. We enjoyed great popularity in Albuquerque, playing a booming club circuit and working 48 weeks a year. Following a 3-1/2 year run, we played our swan song to a huge sold-out event at Confetti’s—at that time, the largest club venue in Albuquerque. The night was captured on video by John Cline and Phil Appelbaum, and is today something of a collector’s item.

In 1992, I released my first CD, “Wait Until Dark,” a techno-pop and rock album on which I played most of the instruments, programmed digital drums, and sang. Four of the songs from the CD garnered New Mexico Music Industry Coalition songwriting awards.

In the late 90s, I called upon an old and talented friend, Eric Larson, to engineer my second collection of original songs, which became the EP titled “Undiscovered Hearts.” This folk-rock album sold very well at Borders and Hastings in Albuquerque and contains Lovin’ Molly, a winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Award in the category of folk. The album brought together some of Albuquerque’s top session musicians, including Andy Poling, Dave Henderson, and Mike Altomare.

"Songs from the Roof" was released in 2003 and contains some of my own favorite songs, including These Two Hands, Anyone Can Tell You, and In Another Town. Local talents Dimi Disanti, John Truitt, and NMSO violinist, Tony Templeton, grace the track City Lights, transporting you to the lonely streets of Manhattan after hours.

My latest CD, "Nine-Mile Hill", pays homage to a famous landmark in my hometown where migrant farmers inched along Route 66 in their trucks or on foot, bound for what they hoped would be the promise land of California.



Copyright 2007 Kevin Hughes. All rights reserved.