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Paul Hubert, High Tide Will Come
Wildcat Records, Oct. 1

11/15/12
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Not every last artist from New Hampshire is a reporter-fedora-hat part-time busker, not that this Ashland singer/songwriter is an exception to that Peavey-and-acoustic norm, at least in relation to his core ideas. He’s been around a long time, though, playing with The Buskers, opening for Maria Muldaur if you remember her – “Midnight at the Oasis,” wasn’t it? – and playing live with guys like Will Scarlet and Matt Glaser. All that stuff takes us to now, in which he whips out this hardy little album full of the sort of stuff you’d expect to get at one of our beloved local bars, which all seem to be barely renovated horse barns, don’t they? The guy sounds like a cross between Muddy Waters, French-café-obsession-era Iggy, and Randy Newman, understated but sounding like someone you wouldn’t want to have eyeballing you at closing time. “Whatcha Gonna Do” opens the LP in one of those timeless modes that’s not quite bluegrass and not exactly blues either; I would have liked to hear him sing a little more like Oscar the Grouch here, really sickly and drugged, and not in such clean Newman fashion. But whatever, the whole album is a clinic for weird-beard folkies. “Say It Out Loud” and “Darkest Hour” make me think of The Eels; “Sugar Sugar Mama” tips its fedora to Jimmy Buffett, “Hold On To You” is your basic Jerry Garcia twang-a-thon. Grade: AEric W. Saeger





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