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Grayson Hugh / Press

“We were thrilled to have singer/songwriter Grayson Hugh and Polly Messer perform as part of our Opening Weekend celebrations.  The concert was fabulous and Grayson’s piano playing was simply amazing! He and Polly sang wonderfully together with soul and passion!”

"The Norwood Theatre thoroughly enjoyed a dynamic performance by Grayson Hugh and Polly Messer on Saturday October 26th, 2013. The chemistry between the couple on stage was apparent to the audience as they sang their brilliant harmonies. A well deserved standing ovation completed a perfect evening."

"I was proud to have Grayson Hugh return to The Lyric after so many years. Our audience loved the show -and having Polly Messer as part of the performance on October 19th made it even more special."

"Grayson Hugh and his harmony singer Polly Messer delivered a wonderful intimate performance that had the audience yelling for more.  The diversity of his music, stage presence, artistry and impeccable storytelling through lyrics and melody made for an exceptional evening."

“On his brand new CD, Grayson Hugh sings of harbor towns and roads that don't look back, of thin trees and snow mountains, of mists rising from the sea and woods seen in soft southern light. He sings of mourning and disillusionment, of remembered love and lost time, of life scraped from the bottom of a lobster pot. It is soul music in a way that has nothing to do with soul in the sense of Motown or Stax, the Godfather or the Queen, nothing to do, really, with any of the usual genres by which we demarcate American music. Country? Jazz? R&B? Rock? Grayson sounds like none of them, sounds like all of them. Because his music is soul in the sense that it looks you in the eye and speaks to you from the gut, that it is real, honest and - we keep coming back to that word - true. This is "An American Record". Some of us are glad the wait is over at last.”

“Hugh's recent personal and artistic achievements inform every track on his new album "An American Record". This overlay of art and heart breathes a gospel air into the irresistibly churchy “Tell Me How You Feel,” paints a stark yet beckoning landscape on “North Ohio,” cranks up the funk in the cocky, horn-stabbed strut and haunting chanted coda of “Swamp Yankee,” hangs a lover’s plea over an elegant and unforgettable chorus hook on “Give Me One Good Reason” … Every track tells its story with a mix of passion, craft and impact that’s rare in our time. In flaunting the discipline and knack for accessibility that distinguished his earlier recordings and compositions, "An American Record" confirms his return as a commercial as well as artistic force."”

“There is a lot of soul, blues, R&B and funk on this album. Songs like "Give Me One Good Reason" and "Long and Lonely Night" will reintroduce fans to the soulful crooner many of us first met in 1989. "Tell Me How You Feel," is a rollicking blues, soul and gospel tune that shows where the barrelhouse blues meets the Baptist and sanctified church. The song features an extensive blues/jazz solo and ends with an energetic Hugh calling out from the pulpit of love how much he needs his woman's love. The song then takes listener to the church choir stand with band playing some ‘shouting and handclapping music.' "Give Me One Good Reason" revives the lost art of the soul duet with Hugh and his wife, Polly Messer, taking turns leading the song. This is a journey through America that is worth a try. RECOMMENDED.”

“Some 18 years later, after all his radio hits, songs featured in hit films and acclaim as a singer/songwriter, Grayson Hugh has made an amazing comeback with "An American Record", his fourth full length album. And throughout this record, Hugh's wild and masterful piano playing is a veritable cyclone of soul, drawing its energy from such diverse regions as the swampland funk of Professor Longhair, the testifying soul of Ray Charles, with the rhythms of African drumming and American bluegrass thrown in the mix. With all these songs and others Hugh seizes every opportunity to show you that he's not only back, but also a magnificent vocalist and sublime songsmith. Welcome back, man! FOUR STARS!”

“As impressive as Grayson Hugh's 1989 debut album "Blind To Reason" was, "Road To Freedom" represents a quantum leap beyond it. While Hugh's blue-eyed vocals and affinity for gospel-style Hammond organ remain, his music adds a welcome infusion of rock 'n roll punch. "Hideaway", "Forever Yours, Forever Mine" and "When She Comes Walking" bristle with radio-friendly hooks, while Hugh's Rod Stewart-meets-Sam-Cooke vocals on "I Can't Untie You From Me" and the ballad "Walking Through The Fire" are sublime.”

“Here's a CD I'm having trouble keeping out of my player. The long-delayed follow-up to "Blind To Reason", Hugh's killer 1989 blue-eyed soul release, "Road To Freedom", is well worth the wait. Led by Hugh on a Hammond B-3 organ, "Hideaway" sets a swirling tone for the project. His soulful vocals, from the reflective "Soul Cat Girl" to an anti-war masterpiece titled "For The Innocent" are heartfelt, to say the least. The grand finale is a gospel assault on Bob Dylan's "I'll Remember You" that could raise the dead. Any year with a Grayson Hugh release in it can't be all bad.”

“ONE OF BILLBOARD'S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 1992. Grayson Hugh's "Road To Freedom" - Gutsy, melodic, heartland style soul-rock that really fills a hole.”

“Whoever said truthful soul and rock 'n roll was dying has yet to hear singer/songwriter/keyboardist Grayson Hugh's "Road To Freedom". Hugh is a unique but diverting cross between Otis Redding and Hank Williams (Senior). His creation of a tight, four-piece band has a fascinating way of producing a distinct sound very seldom heard. "Road To Freedom" features the song "I'll Remember You", Hugh's arrangement of a Bob Dylan song. It plays over the credits to 1992's hit film "Fried Green Tomatoes". Another of Hugh's songs from the album, "I Can't Untie You From Me", was featured in the runaway hit "Thelma and Louise". His album also features "Road to Freedom" (inspired by Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1990), "Soul Cat Girl", "Forever Yours, Forever Mine", "Lost Avenue", "There's A Time" (which he wrote at age sixteen), "Walking Through The Fire" and four other hits - all prime examples of Hugh's powerful singing, soulful songwriting and unequaled keyboarding.”

“One of the summer’s most engaging hits is Grayson Hugh’s recording of Talk It Over. Without sounding like too much of an imitation, the 30-year-old’s performance echoes the style and timbre of Sam Cooke with its winning warmth and sweetness. The song is included on his debut album, Blind To Reason (RCA). “To be honest, Sam Cooke was before my time; I didn’t know about him until a few years ago,” said Mr. Hugh, who was reared in West Hartford, Conn., and who now lives in New York. Growing up, he said, the singer he was most aware of was Marvin Gaye. Unlike the vast majority of pop singers and songwriters, Mr. Hugh has had extensive musical training. He studied with the avant-garde composer Ran Blake. But rock-and-roll, which he had discovered at 14, also attracted him. The most crucial experience leading up to his recording career, however, was a yearlong stint playing the piano in a black gospel church in Hartford 11 years ago.”

“Irony fans, please note: The soul man is a dinosaur in decline, right? Al Green went and got religion, Dennis Edwards is in exile from The Temptations again and, let's face it, Luther Vandross is way too cool to sweat. So who's left to save the genre? Some down-and-dirty black powerhouse who grew up in a suburb of Hell, singing in the local church? Not quite. He's a white guy from a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut. And the first time he was ever in a black church and saw somebody whip out a tambourine, he jumped a mile. Meet Grayson Hugh and the music he likes to call "poetry with an attitude".”

“HOOKER, HUGH DIFFER IN STYLE, BUT NOT SOUL. Memphis Music fans had their choice Sunday night between down-home gritty Delta blues or contemporary blue-eyed soul as venerable legend John Lee Hooker and rising pop star Grayson Hugh performed at the Omni/New Daisy Theater and Peabody Alley (at The Peabody Hotel) respectively. While there were some pronounced differences in approach, technique and sound between Hooker and Hugh, a firm foundation in the black music tradition was the underlying theme linking both performers. Hugh displayed the complete range of his influences. He played a string of rolling chords and flashy phrases on electric keyboard that reflected his gospel and jazz background, while his deliver and singing method were straight out of the R & B/Soul school. Hugh's a natural soul man, right down to his stage mannerisms, which included playing on his knees and behind his back. He did two stinging cover songs, one a sizzling "Bring It On Home To Me".”

"Grayson Hugh is the real deal. Great songs, a classic voice and a passionate performer. Grayson and Polly tore the roof off of The Cutting Room. Can't wait for them to come back and do it again!"

"Grayson Hugh's debut appearance on the Towne Crier's stage was a smashing success. His songs are first-rate, and his powerful & volcanic voice was complimented by the beautiful harmony singing of Polly Messer. I look forward to his return!"

"The concert by singer/songwriter Grayson Hugh, with singer Polly Messer, was fantastic. The best of American Music – the perfect mix of blues , soul and country. The evening of September 14th will be remembered as one of the best shows of Fall 2012."

"It was a really lively and fantastic night at Free Blues Club when Grayson Hugh performed on the 16th of September 2012 here in Szczecin, Poland. It was simply amazing. From the sweet, soulful songs with his wife Polly Messer to the excellent rock’n’roll sung with power. Everything of course with brilliant solos on Hammond organ and piano! Awesome music! "

"Grayson Hugh did a spectacular show the other night at Infinity Music Hall. Blue-Eyed Soul's Prodigal Son is back - and stronger than ever."

“Once again, Grayson Hugh rocked the Kate leaving our audience begging for more. A lot of people play our piano, but nobody whips it into a frenzy like Grayson.”

"Grayson Hugh is a class axe, as we say here at Bridge Street Live. From Soundcheck all the way until the meet and greet it was a pleasure working with him. Not to mention how much the crowd loved him and Polly Messer. Dynamite songs, fantastic energy, a true crowd-pleaser!"

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