Brett Hughes Rocks the 'Taz Michaels Twilight Blues' Show 3/8/11

bretthughes3 From left: Taz, Brett Hughes and Shannon

Words and Photos by Julie Jay Seger

The Taz Twilight Blues show on 105.9 F.M. The Radiator hosted the talented Brett Hughes this past Tuesday evening. Brett brought along two of his guitars and played five incredible tunes for us in the studio and all you listening out there in radioland. Hughes has played with Viperhouse, Gordon Stone, Mike Gordon and Trey Anastasio, but you may recognize him as part of the regular Honky Tonk Tuesday line up at Radio Bean.  He also has several gigs coming up in Vermont, including  3/9 at Tommy O's in Montpelier, 3/10 at the River Run Cafe in Plainfield, and this Friday with Me and You at Red Square in Burlington.

Brett kicked off his Radiator appearance with a soulful slide guitar song he recently wrote called, "No Heaven, No Halo."  His individual sound is a mix of folk, roots, honky tonk, and bluegrass. His tunes tend to focus on the gritty, lovesick side of life, or as he explains, "It's always more fun to write about the cheatin' and foolin' around. The best way to kill someone is with a song. Plus, all the nice ones have already been written."

Grim material or not, Shannon and I were melting from Hughes' skilled strings and smooth tenor.  We heard "Sweet Little Bird" and "It's About Time," two tunes that spoke of heartache. Hughes explored that sentiment with "Float Away," a song he explained as part of "the folk murder ballad tradition. Basically a guy loves a girl, and he ends up doing her in, and then inevitably she ends up floating in a river." Sounded awful cold in our Vermont winter, and yet it made for a beautiful song. Hughes finished the night with "Maybe I Will," a sassy, upbeat tune about breaking up with somebody and maybe doing all the things you threatened to do, like drinking yourself silly or finding someone new. It proved Hughes right that the best (and only!) way to kill somebody is with a song.


Hughes admits he's due for some recording time in the studio. After his five song acoustic set I was sad to learn that none of his own songs are recorded. Alas, you must hear him live and hope that Hughes will take some time off from making other people's records to focus on his own! Check him out this Friday at Red Square in Burlington.  Before leaving Big Heavy to take the stage at the Radio Bean for Honky Tonk Tuesday, Hughes summed it up like this: "Vermont is full of music lovers. There's this constant influx of amazing people coming through and it's really been an amazing place to be. A lot of great songs live here."

As always, gracias to the Taz Michaels Twilight Blues show for hosting incredible Vermont musicians like Brett. Hop over to facebook for upcoming guests and be sure to tune into the Tazday Twilight Blues next week for Josh Panda in the studio!