Many students studying mechanical engineering may only be interested in the latest and greatest gadgets, but at least one undergraduate at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania isn’t. Having just released his first project entitled Searching for a Home on Patuxent Music, sophomore Ethan Hughes is all about music.
While flexing his excellent dobro skills, sharpened vocals, and solid songwriting capabilities, Hughes’s new release exists as a compilation of twelve tracks old and new. Additionally, the talent displayed by accompanying artists validates Hughes’s musical prowess. Joining him are Russ Carson (banjo & rhythm guitar), Nate Grower (fiddle), Marc MacGlashan (mandolin), Sav Sankaran (bass and vocals), Frank Solivan II (guitar and vocals), Wally Hughes (tenor vocal), and Norman Wright (tenor vocal).
Hughes has drawn from twenty years of listening to his parents’ Wednesday night practice sessions to record a project filled with both familiar and obscure tunes. The album’s opener and title track, Searching for a Home, was written by Hughes and sets the tone for the album as traditional music played with an ear open to the future. Tasteful versions of tunes such as the swinging sounds of Panhandle Rag, complete with a walking bass intro and solo, fit well next to other, as do more familiar, tracks like the upbeat song Ain’t it Funny and the Drumm/Goble composition Poet With Wings. Other noteworthy numbers include Bill Monroe’s Stay Away from Me and the traditional public domain piece Never Let Your Deal Go Down.
A young artist at the age of 20, Hughes is no stranger to the bluegrass music scene. In fact, both he and his father have played professionally (Wally currently performs with Bill Emerson and company), which hasn’t been an easy feat for a guy who recently described his first dobro as “something my dad had gotten out of the trash can at a pawn shop.”
Since those pawn shop dobro days Hughes has done quite well for himself and fans may now recognize him from his time spent with Darren Beachley and the Legends of the Potomac. Hughes is just getting started with a new act, Mercury Rising, who recently obtained a slot at the Wilmington Wintergrass Festival in Delaware.
Simply put, if you like music played tastefully, you’re probably going to like Hughes’s new project on Patuxent Music, Searching for a Home. For more information regarding Hughes’s work, check him out at www.pxrec.com, or at CD Baby.