Donna Hughes

Donna Hughes

 Trinity, North Carolina, USA
BandCountrySinger/Songwriter

Multi-award winning singer-songwriter Donna Hughes performs with with a full band, solo performances and conducts songwriting workshops. Her songs have been recorded by Alison Krauss and Union Station, Seldom Scene and more.

Biography

AWARDS, NOMINATIONS and SPECIAL HONORS for Donna Hughes and The Donna Hughes Band

2011 - Nominated for Country Female Vocalist of the Year by the Carolina Music Awards
2010 - Nominated for Country Female Vocalist of the Year by the Carolina Music Awards
2010 - Chosen for the IBMA Songwriter Showcase
2009 - Winner of Bluegrass Album of the Year ("GAINING WISDOM") by Just Plain Folks
2009 - 2nd place Bluegrass Song of the Year ("Bottom of a Glass") by Just Plain Folks
2009 - Nominated for Country Female Vocalist of the Year by the Carolina Music Awards
2009 - Chosen for the IBMA Showcase Artist
2008 - Nominated as Songwriter of the Year by the Roots Music Association
2007 - IBMA FanFest Performance
Numerous shows opening for Tony Rice and Peter Rowan
2005 Rounder IBMA Showcase
2005 International Bluegrass Music Association's Songwriter Showcase
2005 Gibson IBMA Showcase with Tony Rice
2004 International Bluegrass Music Association's Songwriter Showcase
2004 Rounder IBMA Showcase with The Grascals

BIO

Donna provides lead vocals and guitar performing her award-winning songs and is joined by Brian Stephens (vocals, guitar and mandolin); Maggie Stephens (bass and harmony vocals); and Patton Wages (banjo). The band also mixes it up by adding a fiddle on select shows. Brian Stephens takes the lead vocals on more traditional flavored tunes, while Maggie Stephens lends her beautiful harmony vocals that are a perfect blend with Donna's voice.

The Donna Hughes Band was nominated by the French Bluegrass Music Association as Band of Year and in 2009 the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) chose the group as an official IBMA Showcase artist. They just finished recording Donna’s second Rounder Records album, “Hellos, Goodbyes and Butterflies” released in October 2010 and produced by banjo legend, J.D. Crowe.

Donna has a rare songwriting talent that has garnered her worldwide attention and numerous songwriting awards. “Whatever moves me, moves me to write,” explains emerging songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Donna Hughes. For Hughes, songwriting is an all-consuming endeavor, encompassing all that goes on around her. “My songs are always about something I have seen, done, or felt – or something that I saw someone else do or go through. There is always truth to every song I write, even if it isn’t my truth.” Since she first began writing songs a little over a decade ago she has composed over 300 songs. Her songs have been recorded by numerous artists including Alison Krauss and Union Station (“My Poor Old Heart” from Lonely Runs Both Ways), Seldom Scene (“Sad Old Train”) and so many more.

Guitar legend, Tony Rice produced Donna’s “Gaining Wisdom” album (Rounder Records) released in 2007. “In Donna,” Rice says, “I heard something that was down to earth, with a definitive southern flavor to it. And yet there was something different about her voice and the way she structured her music that implied a more flexible, adventurous approach.” The resultant sound of Gaining Wisdom is deeply influenced by both Rice’s progressive acoustic sensibilities and Hughes’ own wide-ranging musical tastes.

All the while, Hughes cultivated a love of acoustic music born of hearing the bluegrass bands brought in to perform at her local church as she was growing up. Raised in a closely knit family in tiny Trinity, North Carolina, Hughes pursued music from an early age, picking out tunes on the family piano at age three and, in her words, “annoying my parents all through my childhood by singing all over the house! I never sang in front of an actual audience until 1996, in church – and I was scared to death. Around that time I started looking for places to sing. I would drive several hours to sing one cover song at a barn dance, or a country music hall. I sang every chance I got…”

Despite earning a B.A. in History and embarking on a career in real estate, plus her current role as gymnastics coach, music was and is never far from her mind. She began writing and recording in earnest in 1996, cutting an album’s worth of songs that proved to be more of a learning experience than a career-builder. Continuing to write relentlessly, Hughes spent five years gathering material for her first bluegrass album, 2001’s Somewhere in Time. That album picked up word-of-mouth buzz and won her a devoted following among both bluegrass fans and critics, and was followed by the twenty-one track collection Same Old Me in 2003. Union Station bassist Barry Bales heard a track from Same Old Me on WNCW’s bluegrass program, and brought Hughes to the attention of Alison Krauss, who quickly became a fan of Hughes’ powerful, insightful songcraft.

Hughes sees different instruments as a means of stimulating different approaches and perspectives in her songs. “When I speak at songwriting workshops,” she says, “I like to tell people to write songs on as many different instruments as they can play. Wri

Lyrics

Bottom of a Glass

Written By: Donna Hughes

Bottom of a Glass
(Donna Hughes/Flying Hound Publishing, BMI)
Musicians Appearing on "Bottom of a Glass" from the Rounder Records album, Gaining Wisdom
Guitar-Tony Rice
Dobro-Rob Ickes
Bass-Mike Bub
Mandolin-Sam Bush
Fiddle-Ron Stewart
Banjo-Scott Vestal
Harmony Vocals-Carl Jackson & Rhonda Vincent

Young & handsome
Star of the team
What all the young guys simply wanted to be
Girls dreamed about him, and he thought he had it all
He got one in trouble, and the star began to fall

Fell into drinking, blew his college chance away
Left her on her own, couldn’t face the life he’d made
And all his promises would soon turn into lies
She never made him happy, and he never made it right

Chorus:
And he drank to kill the trouble on his mind
He couldn’t face the future or the ones he’d left behind
Every day was more lonely than the last
And he only found forgiveness in the bottom of a glass

He started running with the wrong kind of crowd
He started sleeping on the wrong side of town
Then as time went on he tried so hard to change
But he always left her crying, she could never make him stay

One lonely night, with tears on his face
He raised his glass and his life slipped away
Just a memory, once like a dream
Everyone had loved him, the star of the team

Chorus:
And he drank to forget about the past
And all he ever wanted was what he couldn’t have
Every day was more lonely than the last
But he finally found forgiveness at the bottom of a glass
Yeah he finally found forgiveness, at the bottom of a glass

One More Time

Written By: Donna Hughes

One More Time
(Donna Hughes/Flying Hound Publishing, BMI)

Musicians on One More Time (Gaining Wisdom)
Lead Guitar-Tony Rice
Rhythm Guitar-Tim Stafford
Dobro-Rob Ickes
Bass-Mike Bub
Mandolin-Sam Bush
Fiddle-Ron Stewart
Harmony vocals-Alison Krauss & Mary Chapin Carpenter

I don’t know where or when it was over
I’ll try not to cry one more time on your shoulder
You were mine. And yours is all I wanted to be
In your eyes, I found all I wanted to see

One last time, won’t you hold me
Take my hand, dance with me slowly
Tonight, I’ll be yours if only….one more time

We were wild….every moment we longed to be togther
We shared our dreams…..and a faithful promise of forever
What once was love has faded into memories, and closes like a door
All this time, I needed you and something changed.
I don’t need you anymore

One last time, won’t you hold me
Take my hand, dance with me slowly
Tonight, I’ll be yours if only….one more time

Father Time

Written By: Donna Hughes

Father Time
(Donna Hughes/Flying Hound Publishing, BMI)

Guitar-Tony Rice
Piano-Donna Hughes
Bass-Bryn Bright
Mandolin-Rickie Simpkins
Dobro-Rob Ickes
Harmony Vocals-Mary Chapin Carpenter & John Carroll

The wind is blowing through the pines
Always stealing from me, father time
Taking from me, what was never mine
One more day, one more night

Always longing, for the past
Taking for granted, the time at hand
Every moment like shifting sand
Leaving weary, the strongest man

Many fortunes have been gained & lost
Upon the ocean, many ships have crossed
Many brilliant souls have lived & died
At the hands of father time

I’m not promised another day
Still I’m reckless & time I waste
All my tears, cried in vain
Gaining wisdom as beauty fades
Gaining wisdom as beauty fades

Many seasons have now come & gone
Fleeting memories overwhelm my soul
And as the hands of fate, twist & unwind
I’m at the mercy, of father time

Talking To The Wind

Written By: Donna Hughes

Talking To The Wind
(Donna Hughes/Flying Hound Publishing, BMI)

Guitar-Tony Rice
Piano-Donna Hughes
Harmony Vocals-Carl Jackson & Alecia Nugent

On a trading path through the Carolinas
Used by Indians who braved the wind & rain
They settled down beside the raging waters
And they worked the land until the white men came and formed the counties
And took away their land and made the boundaries
Goverened with a heavy hand and you….

Chorus:
Can almost hear that song, of that old Indian
Longing for his home, along the waters edge
Climbing mountains to escape the laws of white man
Walking softly in the rain & talking to the wind

They were friendly and they rode on painted horses
Fearing no one, not harming anything
They were trusting when the pilgrims came to live here
Then they died by the hands of the men who formed the counties
And they took away their land and made the boundaries
Goverened with a heavy hand and you….

Chorus:
Can almost hear that sad song, of that old Indian
Crying for his home, along the waters edge
Climbing mountains to escape the laws of white man
Walking softly in the rain & talking to the wind

They were trusting when they taught us how to live here
Then they scattered to the wind
Leaving only tears behind them
And an old forgotten art and all their memories
Dying with a broken heart and you,

Can almost hear that song, of that old Indian
Long for his home, along the waters edge
Climbing mountains to escape the laws of white man
Walking softly in the rain & talking to the wind

What I'm Looking For

Written By: Donna Hughes

What I’m Looking For
(Donna Hughes/Flying Hound Publishing, BMI)

Lead Guitar-Tony Rice
Rhythm Guitar-Wyatt Rice
Bass-Bryn Bright
Mandolin-Rickie Simpkins
Dobro-Rob Ickes
Harmony Vocals-Lona Heins & Alecia Nugent

It's a cold world, sometimes I feel all alone
It's a long road, that I'm rolling on
And I wonder, if I'm on the path I should have taken
And I'm still here, even though my heart is breakin'

Chorus: Someday I'm gonna find what I'm looking for
Someday I'll find my place in this world
Someday I'm gonna know why I'm here
When I find, what I'm looking for

It's a big old world, and sometimes I lose my way
But I keep searching, and I get closer every day
I can't look back, and I can't go back in time
I gotta move one, and leave the past behind

Scattered To The Wind

Written By: Donna Hughes

She kept the beds made and stayed there all alone
Washed her clothes and hung them out to dry
Did things the same old way and though her kids were gone
She kept the lights on in their room at night
She kept the dust away until she could no more
and the house was sold and everything inside
All her treasures were not worth much at all
Always happy she had never questioned why

Chorus: Everything she owned was scattered to the wind
Sold at auction on a sunny autumn day
It took a lifetime to find all the things she wanted
And a day for all those hands to come and carry them away

Her daughter closed the door and looked back one last time
She could feel her mother's eyes
Watching down on her just like years ago
From her window at the kitchen as a child
Those summer nights seemed like they would never end
And she remembered how her Mama prayed for rain
Where did all that time go and leave me here?
To face the world without my Mama in the rain?

Chorus: Everything she owned was scattered to the wind
Sold at auction on a sunny autumn day
It took a lifetime to find all the things she wanted
And a day for all those hands to come and carry them away

Discography

"Hellos, Goodbyes and Buttlerflies"
Release Date: Oct 2010
Rounder Records and produced by J. D. Crowe.

"Gaining Wisdom"
Release Date: February 27, 2007
Rounder Records and produced by Tony Rice

Same Old Me (indie)

Somewhere in Time (indie)

Set List

Bottom of a Glass, One More Time, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, What I'm Looking For, Father Time, Time After Time, Scattered to the Wind, Bluebird, Not Anymore, Sad Old Train, Too Many, Hold On, Where Are You Darlin', Talking to the Wind