Back to the Soul

by Grayson Hugh

Released 08/12/2016
Swamp Yankee Records
Released 08/12/2016
Swamp Yankee Records
Acclaimed blue-eyed soul legend Grayson Hugh returns to his southern soul roots with this exciting album of 12 new songs. This record was up for a Grammy nomination in the 2015 Best Americana Album category.
  • 04:31 Everybody's Hangin' On
  • 03:45 Story Lyrics We Were Havin' Fun

    WE  WERE  HAVIN’  FUN  (words & music by Grayson Hugh)


    Back when Summer was a feelin’

    and there was sunshine all around

    back in the day that radio would play

    and the music would never let you down

    We were so young and light-hearted

    back when life was on a roll 

    everything was right

    we'd be dancin' all night

    and the music it could never grow old

    Didn't know, didn't know

    didn't know where we were gonna go

    in the sun, on a run

    you and I we had nothin'

    but we were havin' fun

    Come home late from the party

    maybe not come home at all

    playin' those tunes

    lightin' fires in the dunes

    in the distance we could hear the foghorn call

    We were so young and excited

    there was nothin' that could keep us down

    stay up all night

    til the early blue light

    in the mornin' we'd get up and go to town

    Didn't know, didn't know

    didn't know where we were gonna go

    in the sun, on a run

    you and I we had nothin'

    but we were havin' fun


    You and me now

    so in love

    out by the sea and the stars above

    our hearts beatin' with all of our night

    waves kept comin' all through the night


    Didn’t know, didn’t know

    didn’t know where we were gonna go

    it was new, me and you

    in the dawn, in the field all full of dew

    didn’t know, didn’t know

    didn’t know where we were gonna go

    in the sun, on a run

    you and I had a nothin’

    but we were havin’ fun

    we were havin’ fun

    we were havin’ fun

    we were havin’ fun


    © 2015 by Swamp Yankee Music/ASCAP









  • 05:29 Gettin' On With My Life
  • 03:42 Already In Love With You
  • 03:56 It's Got Soul
  • 05:47 Rock 'n Roll Man
  • 04:16 We're Gone Again
  • 04:43 Put Your Feet In The Water
  • 04:39 Gimme Another Answer
  • 04:38 Thank You Lord
  • 04:32 Back To The Soul
  • 06:14 Motorcycle Ridin'
(Excerpt from a review on iTunes by Leonard Pitts, Jr., Miami Herald journalist and author, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary)

"In 2010, an ambitious 14-song set called "An American Record" heralded the return of Grayson Hugh. And now, five years later, comes "Back To The Soul".

"Back To The Soul" is about going through it all, surviving through it all, gathering the skeins of a sometimes-difficult life – the alienation, the loneliness, the brokenness – and weaving them into a song of redemption, a redemption that comes, not despite those things, but because of them.

Grayson sings this explicitly in "Thank You Lord", a stark ballad that sits at the emotional center of the album. It is a searingly-intimate letter to God, a meditation on those lost years, on their blind alleys and degradations and on the amazing grace by which he was delivered and redeemed. “I needed every stumble, drink and failure, every one,” he sings, to deliver him to this blessed new place in his life, to make him the man he has become.

It’s a theme Grayson returns to in "Already In Love With You", a smoldering ballad. “Now, when I look back it all seems so clear,” he sings. “I took every step I needed to get me to here. If I had known what this journey would cost I might just have stayed home never knowing what I had lost. I would have missed out on a miracle.”

None of which is to suggest that "Back To The Soul" is an album of somber pieties. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is the music of a man who’s come through the fire and wants to dance about it.

"We Were Havin’ Fun" is a light-hearted paean to young love, young music and those good old days when “Summer was a feelin’ and there was sunshine all around” fitted me with an Afro I haven’t worn in 40 years, and put me back behind the wheel of that raggedy Pontiac I junked in 1978, going to pick up my baby, with the Commodores blaring on the AM radio. In other words, it took me back. It made me feel good.

The title song and "It’s Got Soul" are cut from similar cloth, affectionate, up-beat homages to the truth, rhythm (and, okay, blues) of that foundational American music. "Back To The Soul" even name checks some of the greatest soul men of the last half century.

Among the other highlights: "We’re Gone Again", a slow-burn of irresistible sexual attraction; "Everybody’s Hangin’ On", which recalls Marvin Gaye’s immortal "What’s Goin’ On", both in the way it opens with a party and, more substantively, in its gentle insistence upon our shared humanity upon a shared planet; "Motorcycle Ridin’", a barroom blues fable about two-wheeled escape down endless highways, the ride more important than the destination.

And don’t miss "Gettin’ On With My Life" - an anthem of a different kind of escape – of the conscious decision to leave behind a stuck place and embrace the promise and the uncertainty of a fresh dawn.

“I’m gettin’ on with my life,” sings Grayson, “now a new day is here. I’m gonna give up my excuses, all my sorrows, sadness and my fear.”

Which feels like a pretty fair summation of the album and, perhaps, of the man who made it.

This is music of and for people who know what it is to be scarred and scared, who have been knocked down hard a time or two and had to find their way back to their feet. It is music of and for people who can appreciate a good horn section or bass groove, who know how to slide on the grease that oozes when the organ hits a lick just right, who are suckers for a rough-sweet voice singing the truth.

Finally, this is music of and for those who have a little life behind them – and a whole lot more ahead. It is both realization and reminder that, for all the changes that life takes you through, if you hang with it and fight through it, it will eventually, inevitably, round the corner and bring you back.

Back to self. Back to joy. Back to love. Back to, well…you know."

- Leonard Pitts, Jr., August 1, 2015