Billy Hubbard is the self-titled debut album of a highly-emotive and passionate blues/country musician. Billy Hubbard’s first release is a collection of delightful songs with heaps of heart and, above all else, a feel-good vibe that would lend itself wonderfully to any long road trip. It’s music that evokes powerful imagery and emotions. I think it tells you everything you need to know about an artist when they succeed at painting a visceral picture for you.
“Casting’ away My Blues” is a strong intro that bursts with joyous emotions. You can hear the feeling in Hubbard’s voice. Never mind casting away his blues; it sounds as if they’ve been in the rearview mirror for a while. Every second of this bouncy country track, driven by fast-paced acoustic strumming, feels jubilant — I love the twanging lead acoustic guitar. It was a huge surprise when this ecstatic opener transitioned into the somber second track, entitled “Civil War Letters.” But I was equally impressed by Hubbard’s ability to pen and perform a melancholic country track. The heart-wrenching violins, acoustic guitar and muted, husky singing all combine to create a stunning track. Absolutely beautiful.
There are so many different moods on this eclectic album. One of my favorite tracks is the fast-paced, Elvis-esque “Mighty Low.” The scorching electric guitar riffs atop a throbbing drum beat to create a rocking, feet-moving anthem. But it’s the vocal duet between Billy Hubbard and Bethany Jean Smith that really makes this track. Their vocals differ in timbre so greatly, and yet the performances mesh so well. It gives the song an extra layer of emotion and energy. A fantastic collaboration. Definitely one of the album’s highlights.
“I Think of You” is a slow-paced country ballad with a gentle beat and twangy, effects-laden electric guitar — there’s almost an ‘80s feel to the psychedelic effect Hubbard has used, and it adds a nice energy to the otherwise-classic acoustic country instrumentation. The song also has a beautiful melody, and Hubbard’s tender singing really gives the song emotional depth. It transitions smoothly into the closer, “Goodbye Waltz.” This stripped-back acoustic country outro has timid but stunning vocals, and I love the Parisian, quickly-strummed, lead acoustic guitar. A brilliant final note for this lovely debut album from Billy Hubbard.