“Hellos Goodbyes & Butterflies” – Donna Hughes – A Review
Donna Hughes second album that I have reviewed , “Hellos Goodbyes & Butterflies” is another very consistent piece of work. Her type of songwriting stays pretty much the same, and her sweet emotive vocals are still excellent, the big difference in her new CD is that JD Crowe produced it , while Tony Rice produced her other CD that I have heard. She has two other CDs before these That I can not comment on. Tony liked her piano playing, so on “Gaining Wisdom” , she played some piano, it is more of a sparse, but very well produced CD in the quality of the recording, very clean.
JD Crowes production is more bluegrass in the traditional sense, with lots of good dobro, Randy Kohrs and Rob Ickes. Also, a very good, clean recording ,featuring the stringed instruments and Hughes’ excellent vocals and melodies. There are fifteen songs here, all written by Hughes, who is a very prolific writer , probably written about 300 songs by now. As Tony Rice fitted the production to Donna’s songs and voice, I see that in JD Crowes work too. She is not your real traditional old timey bluegrass singer, with lots of banjo and fiddle going all the time. The music is mostly guitars ,dobro , some mandolin, but it hones in more as a southern sounding set that is definitely bluegrass flavored, but original in that Hughes’ songs are original. She has has had her songs recorded by Alison Krauss and also the group Seldom Scene. Donna actually sounds alot like Alison Krauss and Union Station at places on this CD. It is quite amazing how, she can be so prolific with her music and bring out some really good songs that catch your attention. “Dr. Jekyll, Mr Hyde” is a very good song with a good set of hooks and a very realistic setting for the song. It is emotional , like something she lived. My personal favorite is “God Don’t Make Mistakes” , that song really moves me each time that I hear it. and “Mid-Life Crisis” , songs based on life and stories, but isn’t that what bluegrass and country music are all about. Also, Donna has some real good harmony’s on the tracks.
Personally, Hughes is a real talent , between being a songwriter and Bluegrass performer. She just seem to keep getting better.