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[Off The Record]
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Neilson Hubbard
WHY MEN FAIL
(Parasol)

On his second solo album, 27-year-old Mississippi-bred roots-pop songwriter Neilson Hubbard seems as haunted by ghosts of girlfriends past as he is by the specter of pursuing an equally unforgiving musical career. After forming the moody pop combo This Living Hand, which released one largely ignored album, Consolation Prize (E), in 1995, Hubbard signed to Counting Crow Adam Duritzís E Pluribus label and put out his first solo recording, Slide Project, in 1997. It too passed without much notice, and here, in the ballad " Towns, " Hubbard quietly laments his years spent on a road " driving faster to nowhere. "

Augmenting his core guitar/bass/drums backing band throughout are Continental Drifter Peter Holsapple, who adds piano and Hammond B3 organ, and Garrison Starr, whose low-key, barely-there backing vocals whisper and tug at Hubbardís tender, twisted voice. Starr adds delicate sweetening to the melancholic reminisces in the languid " Her Fatherís Buick, " where Hubbard sings of a lover " who made you realize that a woman can make you feel so sick inside. " Hubbard doesnít make living or loving seem much fun, but in the heavenly rocker " Beautiful Pain, " heís at least able to find something to smile about, even if itís just a nice hook to hang his troubles on.

BY LINDA LABAN

Issue Date: April 26 - May 2, 2001





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