Why Men Fail
Urbana, Illinois’ tiny Parasol has uncovered a true gem in Neilson Hubbard. The evocative singer-songwriter may be one of Mississippi’s best-kept musical secrets.
Filled with long, slow cello and violin passages, whispering melancholy vocals and lightly strummed guitars, Why Men Fail is a beautifully stirring revelation, an adventurous, unflinching exploration of a soul gone sad.
This is actually Hubbard’s second solo album, following a 1997 project that spelled the dissolution of This Living Hand, his Galaxie 500 cover band.
Certainly the darkness of Galaxie 500’s influence shows through in his current work, but Why Men Fail falls more in league with current pop crossover acts like Five For Fighting, Wilco and Counting Crows than that less accessible cult band (in fact, Hubbard apparently has some personal, as well as stylistic things in common with the Crows as well — he sang backup recently on a new Counting Crows song slated for an upcoming movie soundtrack).
Hubbard sings in a stark, falsetto-accented tenor, with former Geffen recording artist Garrison Starr (who also used to play with Hubbard in This Living Hand) adding her quiet harmony accents to a handful of songs. Cracker’s David Lowery also helps out at the mic on one song and former R.E.M. sideman and ex-dB’s member Peter Holsapple offers some retro-sounding accordion, organ and piano accompaniment.
While there are upbeat rave-guitar tracks that stretch Hubbard’s vocal energy (the anthemic "Last American Hero"and infectious, near-bubblegum organ-propelled "Surrounded"), most of the album sets a late-night mood of quiet contemplation, a la Red House Painters.
Why Men Fail is an album of subtle, timeless beauty that grows more powerful with every listen. If you love to sit back, close your eyes and allow yourself to be transported to another place by music, Hubbard’s album will weave a special escape for you.
For more information check out www.neilsonhubbard.com.
New On The Shelves
Capitol Records has released a two-CD collection of Peabo Bryson’s best work. Anthology features 30 songs in all, including "If Ever You’re In My Arms Again," "Let The Feeling Flow,"and "Can You Stop The Rain," and many of his duets, ranging from his 1981 hit with Melissa Manchester, "Lovers After All," to his duets with Roberta Flack on "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love,""Maybe" and "You’re Looking Like Love To Me." Also included are his duets with Natalie Cole, "Gimme Some Time" and "What You Won’t Do For Love" and his duet with Regina Belle ("Without You" from the movie Leonard Pt. 6). What’s missing however, are his biggest hits for Disney - his duet with Celine Dion on "Beauty and the Beast" and with Belle on "A Whole New World (Aladdin’s Theme)."
The Right Stuff label offers a two-CD collection of Minnie Riperton’s work, also titled Anthology. The late Chicago soul queen’s Anthology includes her breakout 1975 hit "Lovin’ You," as well as her singles "Inside My Love,""Memory Lane,""Lover and Friend,""Here We Go,""Stick Together (Pt. 1)" and more.
The Right Stuff also offers a remixes collection from disco diva Loleatta Holloway, who is currently getting clubplay from her song "Dreamin’." That track, along with her 1980 disco hit "Love Sensation" appear on appear on Queen of the Night, though her late 70s Top 100 singles "Only "You," "Cry To Me" and her 1991 revival hit with Marky Mark "Good Vibrations" do not.
Rhino Records offers Cydeways: The Best of the Pharcyde. This 15-song Pharcyde retrospecitve includes a remix of "She Said,"a previously unreleased track ("Panty Raid") and their three singles that reached the Billboard Top 100 Singles chart in the mid-’90s: "Drop," "Runnin’" and "Passing Me By," the latter of which includes samples of Quincy Jones’ "Summer in the City."