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Sounds: Mark Huff // Stars For Eyes

I wouldn’t say today was a complete waste, but I definitely lacked a lot of energy and motivation to get things done—and now listening to this new track by Nashville-based singer-songwriter Mark Huff, I’m feeling things turn around just a bit.

“There are two kinds of singers: the ones you believe and the ones you don’t,” observes Mark Huff. 

He just released this new album Stars for Eyes, and “Prison Door” just gets me going. It’s got edge to it, like if was some kind of indie folk night at CBGB’s—gritty but still full of lyricism and excellent vocals. The whole album puts forth tales of love and loss—it’s gorgeous, and pure, and kind of hurts but in a way that feels good.

With Grammy-winner Chad Brown producing (who has worked with Ryan Adams, Faith Hill, Gretchen Peters, Tom Russell, and Dr. John) Huff’s new compositions—and one Leonard Cohen classic—reinforce his reputation as a heralded Americana song craftsman and poignant vocalist while expanding his sonic vision with the support of a superlative musical cast.

There’s nothing but straight up authenticity and honesty throughout this album—his ninth solo release— and crosses a host of genres, which I like. No one wants to listen to an album where each song sounds just like the last, and with Mark Huff you’re sure as hell not going to get that.

“For this album,” Huff explains, “I took the filters off. I decided to liberate myself as an artist. I arrived at a point where I felt, after a lifetime of singing and learning from great songwriters like Ray Davies and the Beatles, that my vocal style had come into its own. When I was writing many of these songs, I’d also been in a relationship—and clearly I did not get the girl, so that affected my perspective. And I knew that since I was ready to really get personal with these songs, I didn’t want it to be a typical Nashville sounding album, so I decided to work with Chad and to get a diverse group of musicians who could play deeply rooted music with an ambient sonic approach.”

It hits you, makes you cry, helps you reminisce on a past love (or in my case, pine for a new love). Go ahead, pour yourself some whiskey, and give it a proper listen. While it may not be exactly the tunes you hear on Left Bank, the songwriting really sticks out and is worth hearing.

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