Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Al Huskey in Tennessee

Here is an absolutely exquisite home-made country LP from Illinois. I have been dumpster diving through stuff like this for years and can honestly think of but a handful that I like this much. It's tough to say why so many private country records are weak, but it may have something to do with the singles oriented format for the genre. It also just seems to be a grouping where you get a lot of cover material filling out a record with one or two songs aimed as a hit, making LPs full of original material just plain rare. Al Huskey’s “In Tennessee” is one of these, and somehow he wrote 12 songs that capture a depth of moods and expression that are personal, beautiful, and just wonderfully quirky - soulful, occasionally bizarre. In the best tradition of self-released music the LP presents a cross-section of genuine talent and slightly unconventional production. The whole thing glows, foremost with Al’s unmistakably original voice, as he moves from tales of blind men making it to heaven, to debunking the color lines, to bemoaning lost loves and discussing the peculiar otherworldly nature of an echoing voice. It’s a 70s record, but the production is warm, earthy, almost hit’s a “rock” stride on a few trax, and ultimately it's all about the songs - several of these I would love to hear dusted off for cover. “Whipping Boy” for example has that perfect moment of soaring honky-tonk denouement every country-hit yearns for - the point where the minor-key verse changes gears into a massive open chorus - and the narrator gets to finally stand on stage and deliver judgment for the abuses he has suffered. For me the highlights are the moody almost country-rock flavored late night tumblers… “I Won’t Cry” and “Echoes” both just completely wreck me. Al is still active in music today, and can be reached via his MySpace page. This is a pretty easy LP to find if you’re looking for the vinyl, and is usually pretty cheap. Really a great record, and recommended even if you’re not usually keen on this kind of thing. Talk soon, JDF


  1. A rocker indeed !!

  2. Truly feeling it. Will keep an eye out for the vinyl. THX

  3. many thanks for this one joaquim _ you've got an incredible taste

  4. i downloaded this when you first posted it. just got around to listening to it this morning.
    quite nice! thank you for the share.

  5. Thanks for sharing. It's not really my genre but I like it. I just bought the lp.

  6. i love this. especially it's rough edges. gives it a real humble, well-worn quality. his voice is so honest. if you do happen to have other private country releases on this level, i hope you do post.
    thanks for the blog.