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Tod Hughes - “Cowtown!” 

This new single from Tod Hughes is a straight country ballad about the city of Calgary. Embracing the cowboy pride of the southern Alberta city, it’s hard not to crack a smile listening to this. It’s catchy as all hell too, where after just a few listens you’re bound to remember the lyrics.

It has been said that “time and tide wait for no man,” but haven’t you ever wished that time could slow down, even if it’s just for a while? Maybe you don’t “wanna” have to wake up just yet, or you just want to savor those precious moments in life, milk them for every second they are worth? Tod Hughes echoes those sentiments in the title track of his new album ‘Time Slow Down.’ The Canadian singer/songwriter makes music that “comes from the spirit inside and is meant to touch the soul of the [listener].] ‘Time Slow Down’ has all that soul-touching crammed into one memorable album. Stand-out tracks include ‘Coming Home to You,’ an energetic piece that will have you on the edge of your seat, ‘One of a Kind’ with its sizzling guitar lines, and definitely ‘Drinking Coffee in a Hipster Place’ which takes a cheeky glance at millennials flooding coffee shops with their faces glued to their monitors. Hughes is also generous with his talent, performing a number of shows where all proceeds go to support those in need. These charities include education in developing countries, micro-finance, and the recent refugee crisis in Syria. If you are one of those that miss the golden era of American Folk, then ‘Time Slow Down’ definitely deserves a place on your playlist.”

Malla Malatji, We Do it for the Love of Music

Tod Hughes – Time Slow Down – Album Review Owen MaxwellAugust 3, 2016   There’s a stronger lyrical demand on singer-songwriters, with less grandeur behind the music and tones cleaner the pressure is high. Tod Hughes manages this pressure onTime Slow Down mixing parts country and Sam Roberts to craft an album that while occasionally melodically bland, always has a lyric to crack a smile. Opener “Time Slow Down” moves on a calm country shuffle before every catchy chorus. It’s the instrumental jams and the breakdown bridge however that really give the track its soul and standout moments. There’s a dark swing to “One Of A Kind” that gives it a deceiving air of mystery, as the track’s repetitive nature gets old fast, it too gains some redemption from a short-lived bridge and instrumental jam that is too little too late. The lyrical prowess comes out on “Nothing To Obscure” where Hughes looks at how people over-think everything. Although the melodies are mostly straightforward the lyrical content gives the song enough push to keep it going. “Drinking Coffee In A Hipster Place” takes on a smooth pop jazz feel and comments on dealing with being trendy. Over the course of the track the groove becomes more infectious and it becomes less and less clear whether Hughes is using hipster as a slam or self-referential term. There’s a Sam Roberts tinge to the verses of “Coming Home To You” and then an almost too poppy chorus melody that borders on cheesy in its delivery as the song’s tone doesn’t fully elicit the grandeur that usually goes with such a cliché hook. “Is It Really Fair” is the one track on the album that is mediocre by any means, although there’s an undeniable catchy sound to its choruses. It suffers from a generic guitar line and vocals that don’t add anything emotionally or lyrically. Although melodically familiar, there’s a charm to “Real You And Me” between the sweet sound of its instruments and lyrics that are too easy to relate to. If one can get through the opening verse about sitting in a chair “Worth Waiting For” is one of the best tracks on the album. Every section works well, the lyrics are playful and instrumentation driving. Closing on “The Darkness That Cries” the album ends on a sombre note, lyrics reflecting on the mistakes of the past. Sweet violin breaks and a crowd chant end the track on a bittersweet note that elicits some of the strongest emotions of the album.  ”

, The Scene

Tod Hughes' 'Time Slow Down' is thoughtful and smart By: MacEagon Voyce  AXS Contributor Jul 5, 2016 4 weeks ago 6329277473986165417616y2016m07d05 Tod Hughes In an era lived at broadband speeds, sometimes it’s nice to slow down—or at least humbly ask Time to take a breather and let us catch up. “Time slow down / wait for me,” singer-songwriter Tod Hughes pleads in thetitle track of his new record, Time Slow Down. On the record, Hughes is accompanied by his usual suspects, a collective of local folk musicians that perform under the Tod Hughes Project moniker. Hughes believes in making music of the folk, music that “comes from the spirit inside and is meant to touch the soul of the hearer.” And, as is typical of folk musicians, he believes it to be best rendered with real, tangible instruments. As he says in his bio, not without some jocularity, Time Slow Down was made with “real instruments by real people!” The Calgary native is cut from JJ Cale cloth, boasting a similar relaxed character with similar folk contours. But Hughes’ subtle wit and understated irony, coupled with his folk instrumentations and hand drum percussion, make him even more reminiscent of Paul Simon. Look no further than the record’s fourth track to find both said wit and said percussion. Muted trumpet, hand drums, doo-wop-like backing singers, and acoustic guitars follow the singers's humorous lyrics in “Drinking Coffee in a Hipster Place.” The song is a portrait of millennial-ridden cafés and their plugged-in, “chill” twenty-somethings all absorbed in their screens. In the accompanying video, said millennials join in on the fun, looking up from their monitors long enough to mouth the chorus. The song is clever and an interesting lens into how the non-millennial generation observes its progeny. And it’s fun imagining the twofold irony of Mr. Hughes stopping by a hipster place to find his reviewer drinking coffee and listening to underground techno music (that is definitely not played by 'real' instruments) in his free time (and yes that is indeed the case in this instance). Tod Hughes is a good songwriter. His folk is thoughtful and smart, and it celebrates some of the simpler aspects of life that we millennials occasionally forget to appreciate. Time Slow Down may not be Highway 61 Revisited, but it should still find a home with the roots rock fans that miss (or missed) the golden era of American folk: The Dylans, the Simons, the Cales. And even though some of them (RIP JJ) are still around, it never hurts to have another talented songwriter on the scene.”

, axs.com

Canadian singer-songwriter Tod Hughes hits the nail on its head in the new video for his tune ‘Drinking Coffee in a Hipster Place’. The roots rock storyteller released the album Time Slow Down this past May via The Orchard. The debut album, which is a follow-up to Hughes’ EP Changing Gears, features songs that range from the serious to the comical. Hughes works with other musicians on his songs and refers to this collective as the Tod Hughes Project. He’s a fixture of the local Calgary music scene and enjoys performing, especially to help various charities. On the gently lively ‘Drinking Coffee in a Hipster Place’, Hughes sing-talks his amusing lyrics in an engaging style among the sharp bleats of horns, fast-shaken percussion, hand drum hits, and lightly picked acoustic guitar. Backed sporadically by upbeat female vocals, Hughes professes that he’s drinking coffee in a hipster place and that, “The biggest risk here is being lost and dull.” The video for the song is a pointed poke at, and also a loving ode to, the hipster crowd at a coffee shop. The smattering of customers (mostly tattooed, it seems) all have their eyes glued to their smartphones and Apple laptops, nodding to the rhythm of the song, while the crazily-named coffees listing is a mile long. Near the end of the video some performance footage is cut in, showcasing Hughes and his live ban”

Jen Dan, tastyfanzine

  Tod Hughes Brings the Delightful "Time Slow Down" BY EMILY HINDEJUNE 9, 2016 Tod Hughes brings to life an impressive release with Time Slow Down. Hailing from Canada, the Roots-Rock songwriter shows off his songwriting and storytelling skills, which are captured within every listen.  Taking a page out of the books of artists such as the Grateful Dead, Wilco and Townes Van Zandt, Hughes brings a heartfel record to the table, touching upon subjects such as love, pain, happiness and fear, as he shows off different sides of the human emotion. Hughes' spirited music comes to life in songs such as the vibrant and relatable "Drinking Coffee in a Hipster Place," and the vibrant, yet touching, acoustic feel of "One of a Kind." Hughes vocals shines through each track on the album with a pure and heartfelt sound, as each melody and every note is brouht to life with the touch and feel of a kindred soul.  Catchy melodies are also intertwined throughout the album as Hughes seemingly pens a song for every mood. His impeccable craftsmanship brings memorable verses and choruses that shows his growth as a musician and songwriter, as this is the follow up to Changing Gears, his prior EP. Showing off how he has honed his skills, we hear a more mature side of Hughes, that is fine-tailored for the masses. From start to finish Hughes makes an accessible record of stunning songs that will lure you in everytime...forever. Tod Hughes on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/todhughesproject”

, No Depression

Advertise with The Big Takeover SUBSCRIBE NOW   Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Tumblr Follow us on Google+ Follow The Big Takeover Tod Hughes - Time Slow Down (Self-Released) 24 May 2016 by Cody Conard Calgary, Alberta’s Tod Hughes is a singer/songwriter whose warm and rustic songs go down like a wholesome slice of apple pie. Influenced by the likes of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen; Hughes’s new album Time Slow Down is a follow up to his debut EP. Changing Gearsand follows much in the same direction but with a fuller and more realized production. Perhaps a concept album in the loosest sense of the term, all of the songs, for the most part, deal with the larger theme of hope, whether approached from a perspective of naive innocence or weathered experience. Some songs like “Drinking Coffee In a Hipster Place” are fun and gleefully playful with a childlike spirit akin to Jonathan Richman, whereas others such as “Darkness that Cries” are more carefully introspective and with a spirit measurably toned down. Yet, for the most part, a celebratory love of music pervades the proceedings, aided in part by a group of local musicians clearly as invigorated by the project as Hughes is. Time Slow Down, released May 8th, is a record with artistic and thematically diverse depths that only reveal themselves further upon repeated listens, and it is also a record that will never fail to reward the listener or put a smile on their face.  ”

Cody Conard, The Big Takeover

ALBUM Tod Hughes Time Slow Down Independent (label) 08 May 2016 (released) 5 d Jon C. Ireson SHARE WITH: In the course of my day, I hear every style of music you could imagine. Singer-songwriters to death metal and everything in between. Some days, the amount of narcissism is staggering. I suppose it's the curse of the music industry being inundated by the young. Today, after going through a deluge of offerings from dramatic prima donnas, I was lucky enough to stumble on the comforting, humble tunes of Tod Hughes. There was a time when I would never give a second listen to bluegrass but ever since bands like Old Crow Medicine Show and The Devil Makes Three have crossed over to the alternative crowd, I've started to take note. Hughes latest album, Time Slow Down is broader than a pure bluegrass record. It plays out more like a post '60s Dylan album, straddling the line between rock and roots. The opener and title track 'Time Slow Down' caught me right away and I found myself listening on repeat as it seemed to cleanse my soul. Shuffling acoustic guitars and banjo welcome you in immediately. Verses reflect calmly on things come and gone while the chorus asks time to “slow down and wait for me”. Beautiful two-part harmonies with an angel-voiced woman make this song irresistible.The record continues jumping back and forth between swinging urban rock numbers in the style of Dire Straits and homespun prairie tunes. 'One of a Kind' and 'Drinking Coffee in a Hipster Place' tell of adventures in the city while a song like 'Nothing too Obscure' feels like a good ol' sing along out on the porch at the ranch. The song looks down the road for answers but doesn't get lost in existentialism trying to find them. The aforementioned 'Drinking Coffee in a Hipster Place' sports the slick muted trumpet you very well might find meekly murmuring out of tiny speakers at one of these joints. Cute lady vocals pop in and out to further back up the parody. Hughes would rather have “gas station coffee you have to chew”.Tod Hughes style could be divisive in the same way that Bob Dylan's vocals either repulse or enchant. They aren't always evenly timed and the melodies like to intentionally drift to off-key notes but fans of Dylan or Neil Young will love its authenticity. Hughes has a pair of dates coming up at the Calgary Stampede where I'm sure he'll be warmly received. Sometimes it's good to take a break from the bright lights of the big city and go sit out under the big sky country and let your mind open up in the wind.     ”

Jon Ireson, musicnews.com

  • Buy the AlbumTime Slow Down is the first full-length release from indie artist Tod Hughes. It's an upbeat collection of songs from a veteran of Calgary's music circuit.Time Slow Down, the title track, is a rollicking song with a roots country energy. Tod has a storyteller's sensibility and the song features back up singers for a good vocal mix that matches the sunny vibe of the tune. One of a Kind turns to a groovier rock mode with a melodic hook. The music has a nice sense of momentum that swings through various genres from country to roots to guitar rock, with a little fiddle thrown into the mix just for fun.In the morning lightwe smile at each other in a knowing waythere was magic in the attic by the light of the moonbut I'm feeling insecure nowdo I go or staywhere do we go from here now...?Each song is a story, a scenario, from the working man in the infectious rocker Coming Home To You to the Dylanesque Real You And Me, with its rootsy swing and lyrics to match.Nothing Too Obscure veers between pop, folk and - as the lyrics themselves say - a wanna be country song. It's the musical terrain occupied by most of this release. Drinking Coffee In a Hipster Place is the notable excpetion, featuring a jazzy trumpet line and beat-esque delivery in his raspy voice.A native of Winnipeg, Tod is active in Calgary's live music scene and often lends his talents to supporting various charities, including helping to raise funds for education in developing countries, micro-finance and the recent refugee crisis in Syria.Time Slow Down follows his EP, Changing Gears, and is available on CD, vinyl or MP3 download. Posted by Anya Wassenberg at 8:26 PM  Reactions:   ”

Anya Wassenberg, art and culture maven

Tod Hughes Project By Skope Tod Hughes’ website describes his music as real songs coming from the heart and full of the joy, wonderment, excitement, and disappointments we experience in our lives. These aren’t modest aims and are often misunderstood. Real songs coming from the heart means rendering life as it is rather than as we’d like it. The songs on his debut EP Changin’ Gears represent an attempt to distill life down to its essence, capturing experiences in song capable of simultaneously moving and entertaining his audience, but life is messier and refuses to yield. The drama of our lives is outsized and Hughes hems himself onto a canvas too small to fit such moments and thoughts. While one might say with some justice that life is full of clichés, their abundance on the EP weakens an otherwise memorable debut. “Let’s Dance” strives for simplicity and ends up sounding canned. The players certainly hit their marks and anyone starved for the sharp twang of traditional country music guitar will enjoy the track. Hughes’ earnest vocal isn’t an entirely comfortable fit for the lyric. He doesn’t emote so much as inflect and there’s rigidity in his voice sharply contrasting with the song’s tone. The lyric is coherent but marred by an assortment of clichés. “Follow Your Heart” has a jaunty bounce, but we’re trafficking heavy in clichés again. Hughes, however, redeems much of the damage with a much more compelling vocal that uses his singing limitations in a way that personalizes the familiar. “Brad’s Song” brings listeners a moment when Hughes pushes past his influences, avowed or otherwise, and creates something truly his own. The urgent music and nagging vocal complement each other and dovetail into an unified whole – this is inventive lyric writing framed with sure musical hands. Hughes gives us a decent John Prine impression with his vocal on “Just Sing”, but any similarities can’t undermine the fine job of writing he turns in on this track. While it admittedly takes a turn through some stock celebratory images about expressing yourself, the chiseled language and precise diction are impressive. Changin’ Gears takes a surprising turn with “The Quiet”. This keyboard laced and even funked up mid-tempo burn has a distinctly darker air than its predecessors do and Hughes gives it a sneering vocal. The final song, “The Only Person Who Won’t Drink with Me Is You”, saves Hughes’ best shot for last. Much like “Brad’s Song”, the song blasts beyond its formulaic backing and impresses itself on listeners as something uniquely Tod Hughes. The darkness in the song goes far beyond anything else heard on the album, but Hughes tempers it with a great comedic deadpan vocal. Changin’ Gears has two moments of pure inspiration surrounded by tracks with varying success. The release has uneven quality, but never so lopsided that it’s a chore listening to it. The aforementioned moments of inspiration aren’t enough to make the release essential, but they certainly serve notice of Tod Hughes’ songwriting skills. 3.5/5 Stars Purchase Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/tod-hughes-project/id925754033 FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/todhughesproject Jason Hillenburg”

Jason Hillenburg, skopemag.com

Album Reviews May 28, 2015  Mindy McCall The Tod Hughes Project – Changin’ Gears 2 SHARES FacebookTwitter The Tod Hughes Project – Changin’ Gears https://www.reverbnation.com/todhughesproject While country music continues a contentious, but profitable, transformation from backwater musical genre into a cultural force openly courted in the mainstream, it’s easy to forget artists like Tod Hughes in the shuffle. This isn’t strictly country, but it certainly owes much of its sensibility to the genre and one of the best songs on his new EP has a title like an outtake from a Johnny Paycheck album. Blues-fueled guitar heroics and Nashville twang collide here, but Changin’ Gears benefits from its light rock vibe too. The release’s musical foundation, however, isn’t far removed from what you might find in a honkytonk on a weekend night. Nowhere is this clearer than on “Let’s Dance”. The exultant and life-affirming energy sparking off the track gives much needed impetus to a lyric contenting itself with superficialities. The guitar work, in particular, lunges from the mix like a knife. The lack of any urgency at all dooms “Follow Your Heart” from its first note. Despite the singer’s pleading about the importance of following your dreams, the music never conveys the same message. It contents itself with a relaxed mid-tempo attack that never reaches for much. “Brad’s Song” suffers a similar fate. It’s disheartening to hear the inklings of depth in the lyric whitewashed by lax musical backing. Unfortunately, Hughes’ voice misses any opportunity to shore up the lack with an unfocused performance. “Just Sing” succeeds thanks to its stripped back elegance. Every facet of the performance moves within the confines of good taste; notice the melodic simplicity that helps weave great mood and atmosphere. “The Quiet” pushes far beyond the six string pyrotechnics in the opening track and gives Changin’ Gears a shot of pure rock and roll. Introducing new elements like wah-wah and organ move this far away from the other tracks and shows Hughes’ surprising diversity. “The Only Person Who Won’t Drink with Me Is You”, titled as if a subconscious tribute to Johnny Paycheck, has every bit of the saucy and faintly fatalistic humor common in country music. The biggest factor in its success, however, is Hughes’ best vocal of the album that alternates between a sneer and a chuckle. Changin’ Gears takes six songs to show significant variation and it’s a troubling fact. Hughes won’t be able to sustain a career on offbeat humor alone; eventually, the songwriting must carry water for his wit rather than the other way around. However, there’s ample evidence here to suggest Hughes is capable of such development. I-TUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/tod-hughes-project/id925754033 7 out of 10 stars Dale Butcher Share this: Facebook2 Reddit Twitter Tumblr Pinterest”

Mindy McCall, musicexistence.com