and in Europe. The record went gold in the United States and Australia, and his music videos were in heavy rotation on VH1. Riding the success of this album, Hugh wowed audiences around the world with his passionate, high energy live performances. Hugh's follow-up record “Road To Freedom” (MCA 1992) was produced by the late Bernard Edwards of Chic fame. This album, arranged by Hugh and featuring a more rootsy rock and soul band, garnered much critical success.
Billboard Magazine called it one of 1992’s top-ten albums. Upon hearing an advance pressing of "Road To Freedom", director Ridley Scott personally requested two of Hugh's songs from the record to be featured in his film "Thelma and Louise". Yet another song from the record became the end-title song for hit 1991 film "Fried Green Tomatoes". The music industry was impressed and his legion of fans was devoted but, in a classic tale of record company mismanagement, by 1994 Hugh, through no fault of his own, found himself without a label and on his own. Discouraged with the mercenary music business, Hugh moved to rural North Carolina for a few years, eventually winding his way back to the Northeast and landing a job teaching songwriting at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He continued to write prolifically and perform occasionally, amassing a library of over two hundred new songs. Hugh's life took a dramatic turn in 2000, when the old demon of alcohol reared its head. He began a rapid descent that led him, after a near fatal seizure, to a hospital and then a sober house on Cape Cod. After several years rebuilding his life, assistance came in the form of a counselor at a rehabilitation agency, who knew his work and offered to find some seed money for Hugh to begin work on a new record. Dipping into his huge library of never-released songs, and writing some new ones, Hugh began work on a deeply personal record, unencumbered by major record label restraints.
The release featured the diverse musical styles he had always loved: soul, country, rock, gospel, jazz and bluegrass. The result was "An American Record". In the process of making the record, Hugh reconnected with his former backup singer and friend Polly Messer. One harmony led to another and they ended up producing the new record together and getting married in August of 2008. Leonard Pitts, Jr. (2004 Pulitzer Prize winner for Commentary) wrote in his glowing review of the release: "In a world where music is often a brittle artificiality, the music he makes is hard and strong, convicted and convincing.
And true. Most of all, true... Because his music is soul in the sense that it looks you in the eye and speaks to you from the gut, that it is real, honest and - we keep coming back to that word - true... This is 'An American Record' Some of us are glad the wait is over at last." Grayson Hugh's newest album "Back To The Soul", a return to his Soul roots, is slated for a release in August 2015.
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