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CD REVIEW: Deirdre Hughes - 3 Track Demo
By Ashley Petkovski - 09/26/2003 - 06:39 PM EDT

Artist: Deirdre Hughes
Album: 3 Track Demo
CD Review:
La Habra, California native Deirdre Hughes stands a chance. The majority of young country artists trying to make careers in the music business are, more often that not, style-over-substance clones of Faith Hill, Shania Twain, and nearly every other current successful, country-based vocalist. They vie for record contracts by reciting boring songs with idyllic, karaoke-machine worthy voices, and hope that their shiny hair and exposed navels will carry them through. Hughes, however, stands proudly out from the pack. She has a lovely, strong voice that can deliver a song with the kind of maturity and genuine emotion of someone well beyond her years of experience. Her voice demands at least a little bit of attention from listeners. At times, her tone is similar to that of a young Dolly Parton - particularly in her higher register - but overall, Deirdre Hughes sounds like… Deirdre Hughes. The songs on her three-song demo may be short of extraordinary, but she carries them out as convincingly as possible, making them all her own.

“Change,” the only track on the demo co-written by Hughes, is a delicate ballad accented with gorgeous, melodic violin lines and a sweet acoustic guitar. Hughes's voice is absolutely beautiful here, its warmth and lilting twang not masking her impressive definition. The structure of the song is nothing out of the ordinary, but the delivery is laced with a real emotion, and the performance is executed with impressive poise.

“All Sides Against The Middle” is a typical "new country" song, about a woman with a history of unsuccessful relationships feeling the pressure of having to pick the right guy. The song itself is nothing special, nothing more than a catchy song with a tight chorus and a simple concept. Hughes, however, pulls it off as well as anyone can, delivering it with natural ease and reflecting her ability to be lighthearted as well as sophisticated. The chorus hints at Hughes's ability to pull off a rougher vocal style, a tone that would be suited to sultry blues-based rock & roll.

“All You've Got Is Now” is undoubtedly the strongest track on the demo. The song, written by Lisa Manor and Joey Arreguin, has elements of the classic country story song, and a universal end-of-a-relationship theme, and proves that music doesn't need to be overcomplicated and challenging in it's interpretation to be relevant. Hughes sings as if she believes in her song, as if the words are completely familiar and the song is her way of reflecting on an entirely personal moment. Her vocal delivery is not that of a young woman just beginning her career, but of a wise professional. It floats above the music capturing the immediacy and powerful melody of the song perfectly.

Through three simple songs, Deirdre Hughes proves that she, although young, has a classic voice with much potential. She sounds at ease, comfortable and secure with her own sound and aware of the power she possesses. She is able to perform with sophistication and maturity, as well as youthful energy, and although her current sound is labeled as country, she is certainly not limited in her abilities. With solid production and instrumentation to back her up, as well as a larger, more diverse catalogue of songs, Deirdre Hughes indeed stands a chance, and undoubtedly has the potential to be a definite success.


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