Singer-songwriter Bud Summers recently dropped a three-track sampler from his album, Hard Lessons, a collection of 9-tracks reflecting moments in Summers’ voyage through life.
Summers explains the album, saying, “Three of these songs are set in Memphis, TN where I’ve found myself many times over the years. The album is divided into three sections. The first three songs are light-hearted observational moments from some happy times. The three songs in the middle reflect my love/hate relationship with Nashville and Memphis. The third group of songs is a sad reflection of many poor choices and bad decisions with a goodbye to my world as it was.”
Growing up in a musical family, Summers tried his hand at violin and piano, but found a home when he picked up a guitar. Music was in his soul, so much so that, later, he dropped out of college in his final year to go on tour with a band. After a while, he returned to school, taking a degree in Music Performance.
Since then, Summers has toured throughout the U.S., releases seven albums encompassing everything from covers, to pop, blues, and jazz-flavored rock, along with appearing on more than a dozen albums as a guest instrumentalist, and being a faculty member at Lewis & Clark College, Principia College, and Greenville College.
The three tracks on the sampler include “Bad Fish,” “Endless Fantasy,” and “So Deep.” “Bad Fish” opens on a bluesy jazz-laced melody with glossy background harmonies that really light the song up. Summers’ voice, a deep rasping tenor, infuses the tune with deep Southern savors.
“Endless Fantasy” rides an upbeat jazz-rock melody with tropical tinges. A crisp side stick on the snare and pulsing bass line hold the rhythm together, while a sparkling piano adds mid-range accents. I love the vocal harmonies on this track, conveying a gospel-doo-wop ambience. The tight guitar solo is marvelously rendered.
“So Deep” delivers elements of jazz, soul, and R&B atop a jazz-like rhythm. Summers’ rasping voice is just different enough to give the tune a sophisticated, lazy, quixotic texture that’s compelling.
The Hard Lessons Sampler is cool and persuasive, full of creamy retro harmonics, radiant harmonies, and Bud Summers’ deliciously grating tones.