When people are living in harmony and love is plentiful, communities at peace and joy is more common than fear or hatred, there is always music. In times of distress and chaos, where no one seems to want to get along and there isn’t any singular uniting shelter that we can come together under from the storm, there is always music. Music is in fact the one element of our world that is all-encompassing of our world and all-embracing of each of us, regardless of any surface stuff like race, age or upbringing. And as anyone that is alive and well in the year 2018 knows, sometimes music is the only thing that can drown out all of the complaining, the discord and general sense of discomfort that seems to come standard with just turning on the television. Nashville’s own Mark Huff is a singer/songwriter who understands the power that music has to heal our wounds and celebrate our greatest victories. His new album Stars for Eyes happens to do a little bit of both.
In the song “Albatross,” Huff takes us cruising down a twisting road of cerebral string melodies crashing into the timber of Huff’s own voice, which is in many spots equally hypnotic. “See the albatross fly across the wasteland, and we’re drowning in a puddle of love,” he tells us in the chorus, the pain in his voice bleeding through the speakers leaving a thick, uncompromising sting with every word he sings. The dream like lyrics and sonically provocative music fuse together to create something that is equally psychedelic and folky (though not to be confused with jaded, “retro” rock music, mind you). “Carolina Blue” tells a similar story aesthetically, although channeled through the twangy, acoustic dirge of his Nashville roots. Chad Brown’s excellent work behind the soundboard is felt from the start of Stars for Eyes and should definitely not go without considerable praise. In squeaky clean, high definition audio, we’re able to completely appreciate even the slightest nuance in Mark Huff’s rich and textured melodies, and I credit Brown’s handiwork wholly.
While I might have arranged the order of the songs on Stars for Eyes a little differently than Huff ultimately did, this is still a very solid, well planned LP that presents a diverse set of songs that gel well together without feeling repetitive or formulaic. With all of the buzz his career is garnering at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if Huff decides to put out another release in the next year. There’s tremendous potential for him to expand upon this somewhat avant-garde approach to making Americana, and I’d be curious to see what he could do if presented with a few more weapons in the studio and maybe a slightly bigger budget to really get creative and do whatever he pleases. Stars for Eyes is an immaculate introduction to his sound for indie audiences hungry for a new voice in the singer/songwriter medium, and I have a feeling that whatever comes next will mark his official entrance into serious, mainstream chart contention.