Gaining Wisdom

Donna Hughes

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Gaining Wisdom Review

by Rick Anderson

Singer and songwriter Donna Hughes makes her national debut with this very enjoyable album, Gaining Wisdom, produced by guitar legend Tony Rice and featuring a stellar cast of sidemen who include mandolinist Sam Bush, dobro player Rob Ickes and fiddler Ron Stewart, among others. The lineup might lead you to expect a relatively straightforward bluegrass album, but what you get is something quite a bit more complex -- a really quite modern country album played on acoustic instruments, some of the songs (notably a fun arrangement of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" and the modern but old-fashioned "Where Are You Darlin'?") heading off into traditional bluegrass territory but many others exploring more contemporary country styles. Hughes' voice is lovely, she's a very talented songwriter, and the arrangements are wonderful -- the only thing one might complain about on this album is a certain emotional flatness in her delivery. When she sings "What I'm Looking For," it doesn't actually sound like she's been looking all that hard, and the hard-luck portrait "Bottom of a Glass" is sung in a strangely jaunty manner. Her affect seems just a bit off through most of the record, but it's still a very enjoyable listen and a promising debut.

blue highlight denotes track pick