Gaining Wisdom

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
On this auspicious debut, North Carolina native singer-songwriter-pianist Donna Hughes gets vocal support from Alison Krauss (who has recorded Hughes's "My Poor Old Heart"), Rhonda Vincent, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Sonya Isaacs, and is backed by a formidable band featuring producer/lead guitarist Tony Rice, Rob Ickes (dobro), Sam Bush (mandolin), Mike Bub (bass), and Ron Stewart (fiddle), among others. These artists don't just show up for anyone, so attention must be paid. Indeed, even with these all-stars on her team, Hughes never loses the spotlight. Singing in a sturdy contralto with the slightest of nasal twangs, she hits the heart of each song dead on. Her ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
On this auspicious debut, North Carolina native singer-songwriter-pianist Donna Hughes gets vocal support from Alison Krauss (who has recorded Hughes's "My Poor Old Heart"), Rhonda Vincent, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Sonya Isaacs, and is backed by a formidable band featuring producer/lead guitarist Tony Rice, Rob Ickes (dobro), Sam Bush (mandolin), Mike Bub (bass), and Ron Stewart (fiddle), among others. These artists don't just show up for anyone, so attention must be paid. Indeed, even with these all-stars on her team, Hughes never loses the spotlight. Singing in a sturdy contralto with the slightest of nasal twangs, she hits the heart of each song dead on. Her filigreed piano stylings betray an intimate knowledge of Baptist hymns. As a writer, her lyrics cut deep into the marrow of the human experience, whether she's engaged in a tender, winsome reminiscence of her grandmother's instructive letters to her (the gentle shuffle "Letters") or torching an ex in a withering post-breakup reality check, "Not Anymore.” Amid these songs about family, home, and ne'er-do-wells comes a powerful account, sung so folksy but with palpable outrage, about the treatment of Native Americans in North Carolina, "Talking to the Wind." Slipping neatly into this potent mix is a shuffling bluegrass treatment of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," with Hughes giving it a discreet Appalachian tint that feels right. Making nary a misstep, Donna Hughes makes a helluva first impression.
All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
Singer and songwriter Donna Hughes makes her national debut with this very enjoyable album, Gaining Wisdom, produced by guitar legend Tony Rice and featuring a stellar cast of sidemen who include mandolinist Sam Bush, dobro player Rob Ickes and fiddler Ron Stewart, among others. The lineup might lead you to expect a relatively straightforward bluegrass album, but what you get is something quite a bit more complex -- a really quite modern country album played on acoustic instruments, some of the songs (notably a fun arrangement of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" and the modern but old-fashioned "Where Are You Darlin'?") heading off into traditional bluegrass territory but many others exploring more contemporary country styles. Hughes' voice is lovely, she's a very talented songwriter, and the arrangements are wonderful -- the only thing one might complain about on this album is a certain emotional flatness in her delivery. When she sings "What I'm Looking For," it doesn't actually sound like she's been looking all that hard, and the hard-luck portrait "Bottom of a Glass" is sung in a strangely jaunty manner. Her affect seems just a bit off through most of the record, but it's still a very enjoyable listen and a promising debut.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/27/2007
  • Label: Rounder / Umgd
  • UPC: 011661055421
  • Catalog Number: 610554
  • Sales rank: 118,296

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 One More Time (4:00)
  2. 2 What I'm Looking For (3:00)
  3. 3 Father Time (2:49)
  4. 4 Time After Time (3:38)
  5. 5 Scattered to the Wind (3:16)
  6. 6 Not Anymore (3:00)
  7. 7 Sad Old Train (2:33)
  8. 8 Find Me out on a Mountain Top (2:11)
  9. 9 Bottom of a Glass (2:59)
  10. 10 Letters (3:13)
  11. 11 Too Many (2:28)
  12. 12 Hold On (3:43)
  13. 13 Where Are You Darlin'? (3:08)
  14. 14 Talking to the Wind (3:31)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Donna Hughes Primary Artist, Piano
Alison Krauss Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Tony Rice Guitar
Wyatt Rice Rhythm Guitar
Rhonda Vincent Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Sam Bush Mandolin
Mike Bub Bass
Mary Chapin Carpenter Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Rob Ickes Dobro
Carl Jackson Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Rickie Simpkins Mandolin
Tim Stafford Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Guest Appearance
Scott Vestal Banjo
Wayne Benson Mandolin
Sonya Isaacs Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Lona Heid Vocal Harmony
Ron Stewart Fiddle
Alecia Nugent Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
John Carroll Vocal Harmony
Technical Credits
Tony Rice Producer, Liner Notes, Author, Audio Production
Cyndi Lauper Composer
Barry Bales Liner Notes
Mary Chapin Carpenter Author
Rob Hyman Composer
Tim Stafford Composer
Steve Chandler Engineer
Donna Hughes Composer, Liner Notes
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