Hard Lessons – Bud Summers (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If you need something bluesy but served with a slightly chilled edge, Bud Summers is your man. Looking for something jazz-infused with a soulful undercurrent? Again Bud has it covered. Yearning for songs that are deftly constructed but spacious enough that the light gets in and illuminates the sleek guitar lines and addictive groves? Spend some time with Mr. Summers!

Hard Lessons is a cool collection of songs filled with the sort of characters who would once have been found wandering around an early Springsteen song or who were so neatly observed by Billy Joel in his pre-fame, bar busking days. Blues is the beating heart of the sound but in the widest sense of the term you could call this Americana…music that encapsulates the American experience and which is in turn intrinsically and sonically linked to the country which gave birth to it.

Hard Lessons comes in three chapters, in a manner of speaking, opening with three songs that are observational and light hearted, followed by three that work through his love/hate relationship with Nashville and Memphis before rounding off with three, more reflective numbers that remind us that the world that can be irrevocably changed by the decisions we make.

We use the word cool far too much these days but this is indeed a cool album, in the more nostalgic and more meaningful sense of the word, rather than its throwaway and ubiquitous modern usage. Many people write songs, some are able to make great albums but not everyone is able to be this cool, this effortlessly. At the risk of contravening some copyright law somewhere, I would definitely say if you are looking for well-constructed, emotive and eloquently delivered music, this Bud’s for you!

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