Brian Hughes: Straight to You

Best known for his fine collaborative work with songstress Loreena McKennitt, Canadian guitarist Brian Hughes uses his solo platform to explore and draw together a range of influences and styles. Straight to You (Higher Octave HOMCD 7095; 57:39) showcases Hughes’ astonishing speed and fluid, smooth play in world beat rhythmic settings, from the flowing brasilbeat “Sesimbra Sun” to the bustling tropical shaker, “Pica,” with a guitar-piano duet taking on a steel drum-like resonance. Not content to stop there, Hughes twists and weaves stylistic threads to suit his need-“Soul Fruit”‘s funky yet elegant blues sounds like Pat Metheny and Robben Ford sat down for a jam session, and “Andalusian Night” snakes a Middle Eastern melody through a heady flamenco guitar strum for a mysterious, sensuous effect. These original combinations, highlighting Hughes’ considerable talents, make Straight to You a must-have.