It’s Saturday, late August, and a good day to mow the lawn.
It’s a bright sunny day, with just a hint of that Canadian dryness to come, but still humid enough to work up a good sweat. As my ancient gas-powered lawnmower gives our front yard hill its weekly crew cut, at least ten surprised crickets scamper out of their daytime naps in the grass. And just like the crickets, big fat memories of this time of year come tumbling out of my mind. The memories are powerful physical sensations that have been slumbering, stirred to life by the combination of the almost-September sunlight, the sweet-sour smell of grass and that circular hypnotic sound of locusts in the trees.
I think of of apples. Orchards. Wild grapevines. Honey. Bees, drunk on fermented nectar of fallen fruit. Corduroy pants, for some reason (must be my new school clothes). The Labor Day Fair of my hometown of West Hartford, Connecticut. Going back to school. The thrill of a new girlfriend. Who would it be?
And I think of music.
It is a law of nature that late Summer-early Fall is the perfect time for new music. It is the perfect time to hear a new record and a great new band. Like, for instance, The Beatles.
I’ll never forget seeing their movie “A Hard Days Night” in August of 1964, with my brothers, while on a family vacation at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.
In that Summer of my fourteenth year we were staying on an island with friends of ours who had a house there. One day all of us kids miraculously convinced the grownups to give us a boat ride to the mainland to see the new Beatles movie at the little wooden theater in the town of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. It was a life-changing event, and I think I knew it was, even at the moment of experiencing it. The thrill of hearing that music, and seeing those four Englishmen doing what I knew I would be doing one day – playing concerts of my own songs! – was ingrained forever in my brain, blood and bones. After watching the movie twice, as I walked along the sidewalk with the early fallen leaves crunching under my feet, I knew without a doubt what my life’s work was going to be.
(A very nice woman from the Wolfboro Town Hall gives my brother Rob, pictured here, and I a tour of what was once The Memorial Theatre, on the town hall’s second floor. It’s here where all three of us Hugh boys watched “A Hard Day’s Night” in late August 1964.)
That memory is so vivid, and the happiness within it so huge, that whenever I get a bit discouraged with the battles and challenges of being a singer/songwriter and recording artist, all I have to do is listen to a song like “Tell Me Why” or “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles and I am instantly recharged with hope and inspiration.
Which is why I’m so happy that it just so happened that my new album “Back To The Soul” was released to the world just last week, in this “inbetween the seasons” time, on August 12, 2015.
Recorded in Charleston, South Carolina during a record cold snap last February, mixed and mastered in Connecticut during the Spring, “Back To The Soul” is a return to not only my roots in southern soul music, but to the kind of excitement one feels at falling in love, at beginning a new school year, starting out in a new city, embarking on a new chapter in one’s life.
It’s that time of year.
I hope you feel it too.
TO LISTEN TO “BACK TO THE SOUL” CLICK HERE.
TO PURCHASE THE “BACK TO THE SOUL” CD CLICK HERE.
© 2015 by Grayson Hugh