Artist: Hugh Prestwood
Album: I Used to Be the Real Me
Release Date: 10/14/2016
Hugh Prestwood is no stranger to the music scene, having written hits for any number of marquee names, among them, Trisha Yearwood, Barbara Mandrell, Collin Raye, Shenandoah, Alison Krauss and Highway 101. His first and biggest hit came courtesy of Judy Collins, who covered his “Hard Time for Lovers” in 1978. An Emmy win for his composition “The Song Remembers When” in 1994 propelled him into the big time.
Prestwood’s solo excursions are less familiar, but regardless, I Used to be the Real Me ought to correct that situation, at least if justice is served as it should be. An exceedingly melodic effort, it finds him in a reflective mood, turning out the same artful and intelligent ballads he’s purveyed for others. While most of his material has found a fit in country circles, here he sounds more like a folk troubadour, with songs such as “Charlie,” ”September Song” and “Untie These Lines” bringing a certain similarity to Ralph McTell, Bert Jansch, Steve Tilston and other storied Brits of the balladeer persuasion. Prestwood plucks the heartstrings with the same nimble charm that he uses to ply his guitar, and when he turns his attention to his own take on “The Song Remembers When,” the tender finesse is all too obvious.
Granted, we live in contentious times, but I Used to be the Real Me provides an apt, if momentary, reminder that inner solace can be a remedy for the uncertainty found in the world around us. A more comforting collection would be hard to find.