Chris Cuddy 'The Best Kept Secret' - Self Release

Cuddy is an eclectic singer/songwriter who encompasses many different musical directions, although they could all conceivably fit under the broad ‘roots’ banner, over the 13 songs on this, his 10th solo album. Responsible for the writing of all the material featured here, Cuddy has a distinctive enough voice to handle the various ways these songs drift. Players such as Keith Glass, Jim Hurst and Steve Conn join Cuddy and a host of other players who play steel and pedal steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle. harmonica, accordion and keyboards over the bass and drums foundation to give these songs their rootsy flavours. 

Cuddy gives a brief descriptive note under each title that sum up the songs pretty well. For instance Amy is described as “a jazzy tribute to one of the greats who left us too soon”. It is a laid back song with double bass and soft brushed drums and subtle guitar in which Cuddy tells of his feelings of loss for the late singer. By way of contrast IBMA Blues is a bluegrass influenced song that features Jim Hurst and Emory Lester on guitar and mandolin. The title track sounds as if it should be coming out of a ‘50s jukebox where country meets rockabilly. Another song, Whiskey Train, tells of perils of a old soldier who needs alcohol to take many pains away. (Got a) Brand New Heartache sounds like a classic country songs and is finely wrought song with a effective second vocal and prominent fiddle. It is an album highlight.

Drive-Thru Daiquiri Bar is another strong song with accordion that tells of “just another day on the dark side” and Cuddy uses his voice well on the chorus. She Reminded Me of You tells a story with a south of the border feel that is simple in it’s delivery, but memorable in its telling. A slightly heavier tone suits the closing song There Goes My Mind Again, a tale of a slightly unhinged sentiment of a man left alone.

Overall Chris Cuddy is an interesting  writer who can make all of these varied sounds work as an interesting whole and each listener will soon find their own favourites within this collection of songs.