Hailing from Calgary, Canada Tod Hughes known as Tod Hughes Project is a singer/songwriter who recently released a six- song EP entitled Changing Gears. His music is warm, easy to enjoy and contains a mix between country, folk and even reggae. Some of the songs feel like hopeful motivational messages you can use to start your morning on the right foot while others are more nostalgic and melancholy. Changing Gears also sometimes just combines hope, nostalgia and melancholy into one song. The prime example of this is the very first song entitled “Let’s Dance.”
The song starts with a twang-y clean guitar, driving drums and an overall festive country flavor. Some of his lyrics paint a slightly dismal reality such as “we should be together but were both alone” while others are poignant and introspective such as “The only thing that is real is the truth, only one for me since my youth.” The song revolves around the ubiquitous theme of lost love that has been around since about as long as music has been in exisitence.
Some of the songs such as “Follow Your Heart” come off a bit hokey but if you have a slight buzz I think the songs will be pretty easy to embrace. Nonetheless the song is well written and festive.
Hughes revisits the same theme of lost on “Brad’s Song” which contains creative, engaging guitar work and effective female vocal harmonies. Hughes sings about “drinking alone” but the upbeat, hopeful vibe creates an interesting juxtaposition. As the album progresses the one song that stuck out to me was “The Quiet” because of the overt reggae influence. It’s a solid song but it did feel a little out of place amongst the other styles.
Overall, Changing Gears is a heartfelt album that contains a lot of tropes but still gets a pass because of the delivery. The songs in terms of quality are consistent and well written if a bit predictable.
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