Tag Archives: craig hughes

This and that.

Been a while, so here’s an update:

Recorded the Dog Moon Howl album in January at The Boathouse in Alloa, started mixing it and then came down with the mother of all eye infections which was supposed to clear up in a fortnight but went on for over two months, becoming increasingly debilitating due to seriously affecting my vision.  Seems to have left me with some permanent problems in that regard, too.  Oh well.

Anyway, had to cancel gigs and the likes but since then have played a solo set at The Vagabond Social Club in Glasgow and a duo set at Record Store Day in Stirling (@ Europa Music), both of which went down rather well thank you very much.  Finished the mixes on the DMH album, getting the masters completed just now, and starting work on the cover art to boot.  Looking at a June release.

Actively booking for the band, the duo and myself so more live dates to be confirmed soon.  Playing (solo) @ Slouch, Glasgow on Wednesday.  Getting into a whole guitar design/business thing as well, Zentone Guitars, more news as-and-when.

Right, that’s your lot.  Blogging, eh?  Fucking doddle.


Dog Moon Howl update (and a live Craig Hughes Two video).

Work on Dog Moon Howl’s first album is in the mixing stages.  Currently sitting at nine tracks, produced by Alec Pollock of Chasar at his studio in Alloa, it threatens to be rather good.  Release and promotion details will start to get hammered into shape in the next few weeks (current thinking is a May release but that’s far from set in stone) – in the meantime, we have a gig on the books for Saturday, March 22nd with Glitterball Vegas and Traquair at The 13th Note in Glasgow.

I’m currently hitting up festivals and the likes for bookings (solo/duo and DMH) and the first solo booking of the year is for Foakies @ The Royal Oak in Edinburgh on June 2nd. Tying all this together, here’s a video of me and Ally Tennick (DMH drummist) playing as The Craig Hughes Two late last year, from the smartphone of Bryan Campbell (DMH basser).

Winter News Round-up

So, my Mail manager-thingmy isn’t letting me send Newslist emails out anymore.  Fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck.

Anyway, here’s the main body of what should have been this winter’s newsletter…

The Blues Magazine #10

There’s a full-page interview with me in #10 of Classic Rock Presents: The Blues Magazine and there’s also a great review of the new album in there.  Available now from WH Smiths etc., or order online.

Reaction to the new album

Reviews and reactions to Losers and Bastards are coming in and I’m pleased to say that so far they’ve been overwhelmingly positive.

“A diamond in the rough, with a poet’s soul.”

            The Blues Magazine (UK)

“It’s bloody brilliant.  Not just Hughes’ best, but one of 2013’s.”

            Resurrection Songs (UK)

His lyrics too are a mix of despair and grim humour and on a couple of the songs here he proves himself to be a great chronicler of Glasgow life with one of the songs, Future After All, reading as if it was an excerpt from a James Kelman story.”

            Blabber’n’Smoke (UK)

“…one of the most honest blues albums of 2013, leaving no doubt as to why Craig Hughes has often been compared to some of the past greats including Blind Willie Johnson.”

            Blues Underground Network (Canada)

And check out Charlie Bear’s video review of the album on her first Vlog, which also features some exclusive live footage.

The album entered the Blues Underground Network’s UK/Europe/Australia Top 10 Blues/Blues Rock Chart at No.1 and stayed there for four weeks running! Which brings me, slightly smugly, to some end-of-year charts/critic’s lists:

Blues Underground Network’s Year End Review – Best UK Blues Album : Losers and Bastards

Blues Underground Network’s Top Ten International Blues/Blues Rock Albums – #3: Losers and Bastards

The Third Class Ticket’s Festive 60 – #33: A Strongman and an Acrobat

Resurrection Songs’ Top 10 of 2013 – #5: Losers and Bastards

If you’ve yet to get a copy of the album or fancy giving one as a belated Xmas present (cheapskate!) please do check out my Bandcamp store for CDs and downloads – or download only via CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes and all that good stuff.

The Craig Hughes Two

The final few of 2013’s gigs were good ones.  I had a busy night in Slouch playing on a bill with the splendid Estonian/English trio of Andres Roots/Steve Lury/Peter Piik and last month’s “Craig Hughes Two” debut at the Vagabond Social Club with Ally Tennick from Dog Moon Howl on percussion went down a storm.  Look!  A picture!!


Dog Moon Howl

Talking of Dog Moon Howl, it’s been a quiet year on the band front for various reasons but we played our first gig in months at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow in November and it was a great night.  We were at Pivo again in December for our last gig of the year (another good one, a very different set to the previous month’s) and are preparing to record our first album in January 2014.  Which, come to think of it, is really soon.

New videos

There’s a video for the album track Everybody’s Got to Cheat and Lie Sometimes, culled from live footage taken by Dog Moon Howl’s Bryan Campbell available for your viewing pleasure HERE.

Also, a live performance of album track Beans and Bread from that Craig Hughes Two debut gig can be found HERE.

Tungstone Guitars

I recently had a meeting with Jordan Campbell of new guitar business Tungstone Guitars.  Something exciting is in the off – watch this space for updates.  In the meantime, Tungstone are just starting up and they have a new Facebook page so if you’re a Facebook sort of a person check them out and give them a “like” and/or follow them on Twitter.

Plans for 2014

Next year is going to be busy on both the live and recording fronts.  I’ll be continuing to play solo gigs but the live focus for my blues/roots stuff will be on the duo with Ally.  Dog Moon Howl will also be stepping up the live work on the release of our first album as mentioned above.  There are a couple of other projects in the offing which will likely happen in the second half of the year – more on those as and when.

So, that’s it for the time being.  Please do keep checking the website for updates, “like” the Facebook page and check out the YouTube channel as there’ll be a lot more content added there over the next wee while.

Inner Shit – Part Two.

As per the new, caring and sharing online me first visited in Inner Shit, here’s another deep insight into my psyche.

I once, in the mid 1970s, won the Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade Letter Of The Month (or was it Week?) with a conceptual piece on wallpaper that had all Spider-Man and that. The prize was a £3 book token which got me a variety of Marvel annuals and a couple of L. Sprague De Camp/Lin Carter Conan paperbacks. Fast forward to the late ’80s: a hungover, 19-year-old me catches an episode of the still-running Cavalcade and witnesses a contemporary winner of the Letter Of The Month-or-possibly-Week. The prize? You guessed it – a £3 book token.

Also, must’ve been around that time, mid-’70s, I took part in a pantomime with a travelling theatre group at my school. Aladdin, I think (the panto, not the school).  It was all quick-changes with the luvvies round the back of the set and I saw a woman in her pants.  There were tights as well but it was the pants that made it remarkable.

And there you have it.

Next: the time I punched a gibbon in the throat.*

*Not really.

A quick peek at The Craig Hughes Two …

Here’s a video of me and Ally Tennick giving it plenty at last month’s Vagabond Social Club in Glasgow.

Good lord, my jeans are enormous. Such trouserly capaciousness – rare in the arena of public performance since the 19th century.

Except, you know, MC Hammer. And that one live Van Halen video just after Sammy Hagar joined. And, like, panto, when it’s Ali Baba or Sinbad or that. And Blackadder III.

Lou Reed. The Craig Hughes Two. Drawing, writing, playing music. Mostly, though, Lou Reed.

When Lou Reed died a week ago on Sunday, I thought I might write a  blog entry to explain his importance to me as an artist.  However, when it came down to it I couldn’t quite get to grips with it.  In the meantime of course, there were many people having no problems tapping into their own eloquence and saying much of what I wanted to say, only better than I ever could.  Check out Neil Gaiman’s Guardian article here, for instance, or this beautiful piece from Patti Smith for The New Yorker.  Of course, the Daily Mail got its poison pen out for the occasion and there was a weasly little article in The New Statesman seemingly from someone who’d either been personally offended by the famously curmudgeonly Mr. Reed or, I’m guessing perhaps worse in their eyes, hadn’t.  You’ll notice I’m not linking to those.

During this period of procrastination, I started a drawing, completed earlier tonight, where I tried to represent a “simultaneously old and young” image of Lou Reed with a quote from one of my favourite songs of his, and spent time preparing for the first gig under the “Craig Hughes Two” monicker with Ally Tennick.  A very last minute decision for the gig was to include an unrehearsed cover of Hangin’ ‘Round, another of my favourite of the man’s songs.  Ally and I, along with our Dog Moon Howl bandmate Bryan Campbell, had played that song over twenty years ago as one of the few covers in our then band Smotherparty’s set.  We used to wrong-foot the moshingly-inclined members of our audience by playing the intro to then-current chart hit Enter Sandman for a bit and then, just as the verse was about to kick in and the moshers prepared to … well, mosh, I suppose … we’d drop into the loose 12-bar shuffle of Hangin’ ‘Round.  Made us laugh, anyway.  Still, the juxtaposition of Metallica and Lou Reed – who’d have thought – we were the first to put that out into the ether and, barely two decades later, Lou and Metallica released Lulu.  You’re welcome.

Anyway, Hangin’ ‘Round went very well at the Craig Hughes Two gig, which was itself a good ‘un.  There’s video of the whole show and I’d like to put that track on YouTube, but there may be issues with synch rights which I’ll have to weigh up.

So, finally, to that troublesome blog entry: briefly, I loved Lou Reed’s music.  I thought too that he, as a public figure, was cool.  I liked that he didn’t suffer fools at all, let alone gladly, and that he appeared to have a massive ego (though I suspect that much of that was piss-taking on his part). A few years ago I found out we shared an interest in martial arts, which endeared him to me all the more.

I first encountered his music via Transformer after a record shop recommendation when I was thirteen or fourteen.  I’ve noticed in a lot of the recent writings on the man a tendency to gloss over Transformer, which is really kinda bollocks as it is one of the Great Albums and alongside Berlin and New York (plus of course his work with The Velvet Underground) it defines his oeuvre.  It is witty, it rocks, and its most famous tracks Walk On The Wild Side and Perfect Day are possessed of a kind of fragile beauty I had never encountered before and rarely have since. Oh and Goodnight Ladies, coming on like the great lost finale from Cabaret?  Just perfect.

I came to The Velvet Underground later, when I was about sixteen, and grew to love them too but it’s the best of Reed’s solo work (see also Rock’n’Roll Animal, The Blue Mask, Legendary Hearts, Magic and Loss, Ecstasy and the A Night With Lou Reed live video, among others) that stays with me most.  I loved his vocal delivery, he was one of the greatest rock lyricists and he was one of my favourite guitar players.  In each of those areas of my own music he remains a towering influence.

Although I’ve had my wee tongue-in-cheek dig at Lulu, his collaboration with Metallica, in truth I think it was as fitting an end to his career as any – a gruelling listen for sure but one day I’ll learn to love it.  The fact that at, what, sixty eight years old he decided to make a double concept art-metal album based on a pair of nineteenth/early twentieth century expressionist German plays with the world’s biggest metal act as essentially his backing band (kicking proceedings off in the role of the female protagonist with the line “I would cut my legs and tits off”) seems to me just about the ultimate ‘Lou Reed’ move.

Here’s to him.


Inner Shit.

There’s a fair bit of advice around for musicians using social networking and/or blogging.  “The personal touch” seems to be the thing.  Don’t overdo the album/gig plugging.  Share some, oh I don’t know, “inner shit” or whatever.  So, here goes.

I like bananas.  I don’t like apples.  I’ve never seen an episode of The X Factor (or Pop Stars or Pop Idol etc).  To the best of my knowledge I’ve never heard so much as a note by either One Direction or Mumford and Sons.  I read a lot but am not particularly well read.  I am an anti-religion athiest who finds the modern trend for evangelical athiesm counterintuitive and largely insufferable.  I’ve had two broken bones in my life (little toe, can’t remember which foot, though definitely one of mine, kung fu sparring 1991; knuckle bone, back of right hand, disagreement with a wall mid-90s) and an undiagnosed/untreated fractured jaw (kung fu fight 1992).  I saw Def Leppard live in the 80s but it wasn’t my fault.  I see every day as an opportunity for disappointment and, ironically, it is only with regard to that expectation that I unfailingly find satisfaction in life.  I need a holiday.

Hopefully that should do it.