John Hughes
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John Hughes

Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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"Soldier On"

"Soldier On"---sounds like it could be Clapton backed by
the Beatles. I like the feel of it-- friendly and sad--not
confrontational.
T Max, The Noise: Rock around Boston.
- The Noise-Rock Around Boston


"Bringin' it on"

By Jared Lewis

Bringin’ it on
Neil Young loves John Hughes, and so should you

He's number one on Neil Young's website.

New Brunswicker outranks Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle, Pink, Pearl Jam, just to name a few.

As you probably already know from the recent swirl of local media attention (Times & Transcript, Telegraph Journal, the CBC et al.), John Hughes, owner of Hughes Communications Inc. and frontman of the Neil Young tribute band 'Broken Arrow,' has written and recorded an anti-war song (Bring 'em on!) that had been featured prominently on Neil Young's official website, ranking highly in both the song and video categories. But the story does not end there, or [here], for that matter, as the song is now at #1 in both categories as of this writing.

But just who is John Hughes, and where did he come from?

Well, for starters he was born under the Brass Dome, in Saint John, N.B. Growing up in Quispamsis, Hughes' musical history dates back to when he first started playing the drums around age 8.

At the age of 14, Hughes began testing the waters at local boozing establishments as an underaged band member. After graduating from KVHS, Hughes moved to Toronto with two musician friends, where they sustained a living gigging full time.

Tiring of life on the road, Hughes moved back to the East Coast when he was 25. He attained a BA in Psychology and Sociology from UNB in only three years, and even spent a year at L'Université L'Aval.

But even though Hughes had grown weary of life on the road, he had not tired of the music that had driven him there. Buying a used right handed acoustic, Hughes re-strung it to operate left-handed and began learning the guitar.

"I had been playing harmonica since I was a small child, so my goal at this time was to be able to play Neil Young's Heart of Gold on the guitar and harmonica at the same time," Hughes recalls.

After university, Hughes spent four years working for NB-Tel, eventually resigning to follow a career in sales at Rogers communications. After three years there, he became an independent dealer. Hughes Communications was born. That was 11 years ago and Hughes remains president to this day. In recent years, Hughes began once again to seek an outlet for his musical inclinations. In 2003 he formed the Neil Young tribute band known as 'Broken Arrow' "because I enjoyed playing Neil's music so much," Hughes explains.

One of the highlights for Broken Arrow was the invitation last November to perform in Rome for a celebration of Neil's 60th birthday. Many bands and musicians performed as well as Billy Talbot, of Crazy Horse fame. "I sang Keep on Rockin' in the Free World with Billy during the grand finale," Hughes remembers fondly.

In the meantime, Hughes has spent time writing and recording original material in a home studio.

"This is not just your average, run of the mill, computer operated recording gear," Hughes explains.

"We're talking about world class, boutique equipment.

I have access to two engineers so I can concentrate on the music." (The first track, finished last spring, is entitled Train Song, and features some members of Broken Arrow).

When Hughes read on the Internet that Neil Young was putting out a call asking artists to submit anti-war protest songs, he thought to himself.

"Hey, I have one of those already written!" Working fast, he arranged and played all of the instruments on the track himself (unable to locate a left-handed bass guitar, he settled for renting a right-hander, then proceeded to write the bass-line upside down). Enlisting the aid of family, Hughes's sister, Beth, and her three daughters, Sarah, Katey, and Ginny Lawson sang backup along with Shelley Brown, one of the recording engineers on the project.

The end result sounds like a cross between a Neil Young song with an R.E.M. pre-chorus (think What's the Frequency Kenneth) the most charming section being where his nieces and sister chime in with synchronized chanting which, sonically, sound uncannily like the cheerleaders from Be True to Your School. (Of course, the end result is very original and comparisons to other songs are strictly to lend relevance, as you cannot yet listen to songs through newspaper.) Hughes and the gang had the song completely recorded and ready to go within seven days, uploading it onto a Myspace account where it was submitted to www.neilyoung.com. Just one full week later, it was the #10 song and #1 video (the video is a slide show of images you see on www.

johnhughes.ca). From there it became the #4 song, and as of this week, it is the #1 song and # 1 video.

As for what will happen next? Hughes is already working on his debut album of original songs, tentatively scheduled for a spring release. Bring 'em On, John!

John Hughes is the owner of Hughes Communication Inc. On Mountain Road in Moncton. To learn more about John Hughes and to hear his protest song 'Bring 'em On!" go to www.juhnhughes.ca. To learn more about the Neil Young Cover band 'Broken Arrow' check out www.brokenarrow.ca and to follow Hughes's ranking and to listen to other cool anti-war protest songs go to www.neilyoung.com.



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- HERE Magazine


"Rothesay man featured on Neil Young's Website"

Rothesay musician featured on Neil Young's website


By Eric Lewis
Times & Transcript Staff


(PHOTO CONTRIBUTED)
John Huges of Rothesay has the number one protest song on Neil Young's website.

Imagine your music being featured on the website of one of your favourite musicians. Now imagine that the fans who love your favourite performer's music have made your song the number one song featured on that website?

Rothesay resident John Hughes recently experienced this. The video for his song, Bring 'Em On, is currently ranked the number one protest video on Neil Young's website. The song itself is ranked the number 10 protest song on Young's site.

"Last Monday, I got a phone call from a guy saying I was in the top 10. And I couldn't believe it," Hughes says, on the phone from his Rothesay home.

The New Brunswick native, who actually owns a business in Moncton - Hughes Communications Inc. on Mountain Road - wrote Bring 'Em On for his first album.

Hughes plays guitar and sings in a Saint John-based Neil Young tribute act called Broken Arrow, and in the '70s he toured across the country with his band at the time, Trix. But recently he decided to write, record and release a solo album.

He says the idea for Bring 'Em On was inspired by U.S. President George Bush's comment about the Iraq war in July 2003, "There are some that feel like if they attack us that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don't understand what they are talking about if that is the case. Let me finish. There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on."

That comment, along with the delay in sending relief for Hurricane Katrina victims inspired Hughes, who says most of his material isn't political.

After writing Bring 'Em On, which he says only took about 15 minutes, he put it aside and continued work on other material. Later, he heard that Neil Young had put out a call on his website, www.neilyoung.com, to any musician or band with a "protest" or "topical" song. The legendary singer-songwriter wanted anyone with such a song to submit a link to it to his webmaster, who would post the link for all to see. There is a section for videos and a section for songs.

"After I read that, I thought, 'well, I've got one of those,'" Hughes recalls.

This was about a month ago. He quickly arranged for a studio engineer to help him record the song sooner than planned. Hughes played all the instruments himself. He didn't have a bass guitar, so he rented the best one he could get from a local music store and wrote a bass line for the song - upside-down.

"I'm left-handed, and the bass was right-handed," he says with a laugh. "So I wrote the bass part upside down and played it."

He submitted a link to the song to Young's site. Within a few days, it was posted there, under both new song and new video, even though Hughes' "video" was really more of a simple slideshow of humourous images of George Bush and dark images of war.

Hughes checked back periodically to see where he ranked. Meanwhile, he noticed the number on the visitors' counter on his own website, www.johnhughes.com, was climbing substantially every day. He also began receiving e-mails from people from all over the world about his music.

Then he got the call about being in the top 10 protest songs on Young's site. He got another call later that day about it, and while he was on the phone, Hughes hit the "Refresh" button on his Internet browser and saw that the video for Bring 'Em On had jumped to number one.

"I had to hang up on the guy, I couldn't even talk anymore," he says. "Seeing my song up there alongside of Kris Kristofferson and Steve Earle is too much for me."

He says the attention he is getting from this experience is a "fantastic kick start" leading up to his debut solo record, which is tentatively scheduled to be out by spring if not sooner. Hughes says he'll certainly make the most of the attention, but says that all that really concerns him is "that people actually get to hear my music."

As of yesterday, Hughes' Bring 'Em On was the number one ranked video on Young's site, and the number 10 ranked song. - Moncton Times & Transcript


"Local man's song high on war-protest charts"

Local man's song high on war-protest charts;
New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Page: B1
Section: News
Byline: By Mary-Ellen Saunders Telegraph-Journal
Source:
Rothesay musician John Hughes is flying high on Neil Young's war- protest charts with a song that pokes fun at U.S. President George W. Bush.
Hughes fronts a Neil Young tribute band called Broken Arrow, and says he has been a dedicated fan of Young's since 1969. Submitting his song to Young's website was his way of helping Young's crusade for world peace.
Hughes said when he submitted his song Bring 'em on, he was just hoping to it would be put on the site, he never imagined he would top the charts with big stars like Kris Kristofferson and Pearl Jam.
When he heard Young's website was accepting songs that protest political issues, he hurried to his studio to record his song, which mocks the way Bush handled hurricane Katrina and the war on Iraq.
"Here comes the commander in chief,/ All the way from Washington deceit,/ Where the oil is thicker than blood/ How many lives to the gallon now, bud?" sings Hughes, who said he borrowed some of his lines from bumper stickers.
Hughes is in the process of recording a solo album, which will include the anti-Bush song.
With no time to find a band to record Bring 'em on to be submitted to Young's website, he decided to play all the instruments himself and have his three nieces sing back up. He recorded, mixed, sang, and played guitar, bass guitar and drums. The song was finished and submitted in a week.
He submitted a video with the song that is a slide show of images he borrowed from the Internet. The show starts with an U.S. plane flying across the screen and flicks to the disaster in countries where American troops are stationed. He also has a series of digitally altered photos of Bush in compromising positions: Bush fishing in the flood waters in New Orleans, Bush dancing in front of a line of caskets covered in the American flag and Bush playing a guitar in the middle of devastation.
"I wasn't trying to make a personal statement," Hughes said. "I am making a statement for a lot of other people that feel this way, they are not me. I was attempting to reflect on the climate I see in America today."
Young's site, named after his latest record Living With War Today, is host to articles, commentary and songs about war. One side of a page lists the top 10 protest videos and songs, which are updated every week.
Hughes was in first place last week for his video and has remained in the top 10 for both song and video for the last two weeks. Right now he is ranked third best video and fourth best song. He said he never imagined in his wildest dreams that he would top the charts.
Having his name, song and a link to his website has had advantages. Hughes has had more than 5,500 hits to his site in the last three weeks and has received encouraging e-mails from people all over the world.
Hughes said while this has been supportive, "it is what it is" and he isn't expecting much to come of it. He is working on recording a new album and in the meantime, he's keeping his day job.
"I don't have delusions about what's going to happen with the CD but this has changed the scenery and it's great that that many people are getting to hear it and enjoy it," he said.
© 2006 Telegraph-Journal (New Brunswick)
Idnumber: 200608240024
Length: 580 words
Keywords: TPNEWS; TP NEWS




- New Brunswick Telegraph Journal


"Rothesay's John Hughes is making his debut"

Rothesay's John Hughes is making his debut

Eric Lewis
CD SPINS
Published Wednesday April 2nd, 2008
Appeared on page D4
Eric Lewis rates his music reviews on a scale of one to five, with (*) equivalent to a poor rating, (**) fair, (***) good, (****) very good and (*****) excellent.

John Hughes

Time

(Independent)

(***)

Rothesay singer-songwriter John Hughes gained some attention for himself when his tune "Bring 'Em On" was featured on Neil Young's website in 2006 after the legendary songwriter issued a call looking for protest songs against the Bush administration and the war in Iraq.

This was after Hughes had already been fronting a Neil Young tribute act, Broken Arrow. "Bring 'Em On" garned considerable attention for Hughes and he took advantage of it, recording his debut solo album shortly afterward with veteran producer Joe Hardy (Steve Earle, Tom Cochrane) in Nashville.

Hughes' debut blends a classic rock sound with a bit of a rootsy vibe not unlike Neil Young's own material. Soulful, lush instrumentation, laced with keyboards and plenty of scrappy guitar, produce a sound tailor-made for radio.

Quirky lyrics here and there -- the oddball "Panic Mechanic" is sort of John Prine-ish -- make for an interesting listen. That tune leads right into the rocker "Ginned Up". Following that, the mid-tempo "Company Town" features a sentiment many blue collar workers can appreciate. The acoustic guitar plucked "Soldier On" is next (it's currently featured on Young's site), a sad and lonely tale of heading off to war. The upbeat and fun "Runaway" has a Traveling Wilbury's sort of feel and even features an accordion to warm things up.

The bluesy swagger of the title track and the throbbing, driving "Time For The Night" are both enjoyable tunes.

A solid debut that gets better with each listen. Hughes has a promising future for himself as a singer-songwriter.

- Moncton Times & Transcript


"Bob Mersereau: BackBeat"

JOHN HUGHES - 'TIME' (Independent)

Rothesay's Hughes first came to light in the group Trix, which went to Toronto before eventually folding. A successful businessman, Hughes never lost the playing bug, fronting the solid Saint John-based Neil Young tribute band Broken Arrow.

A couple of years ago, Hughes started writing his own songs. He and Young had kept in touch, so when the famed rocker put out a call for protest-minded songs along the theme of his 2006 Living With War album for his website, Hughes was happy to contribute. His original, Bring 'Em On, became the site's most downloaded track, propelling him on to a concert in Los Angeles, where he met producer Joe Hardy (Z.Z. Top, Steve Earle).

After impressing these pros and fans, Hughes was ready for a debut disc. Time was recorded in Nashville with Hardy and a crack session band featuring Dan Dugmore on guitar (Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor). Hardy's solid, professional sound gives Hughes's songs a broad scope, from full-on rockers (Ginned Up) to soft grace (Farewell My Concubine). Best of all is another war-related song, Soldier On, which is also featured on Young's website. - TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL


"Silver Circle Reviews"

JOHN HUGHES
Time
11-song CD
John Hughes first came to my attention last summer when he held the number one spot for many weeks on Neil Young’s Living with War web chart with “Bring ’em On,” a song that sounded like it could have been done by Neil Young himself. Since then, John has released a new CD that includes another war-chart topper in “Soldier On,” a sad tale—complete with strings—of a family losing their son to war. John deals in a solid but gentle rock style in the vein of Tom Petty—even when the drums hit hard and the guitars go into solo mode there’s a cushion that lets each song ease its way through. There’s a rural feel going on here that paints a scene of John’s surroundings—“Panic Mechanic,” “Company Town,” and “Time for the Night” all contribute to the big picture. His easygoing melodies carry the lyrics of his relatively safe environment with the balance of life’s pitfalls in “Taboo,” “Soldier On,” and “Ginned Up.” (T Max) - The Noise: Rock around Boston


"2007- A year in review"

From K.V. Style Magazine, January 2008

2007 - A Year In Review

As we close the chapter on 2007 and open a new year of discovery in 2008 I
look at the music that made "The Music Man's" most deserving list of the
hundreds of discs that have passed through my desk this past year. Try to
make a new years resolution that you enjoy more art in all it's shapes and
forms by being a part of your arts community - Support your scene in 2008! I
now give to you a list (My bakers dozen!) of some of the most wondrous
releases this past year that deserves your attention as music lovers.Happy
listening with much health,prosperity,peace and love for this new year!
1. Bruce Springsteen - Magic

Romantic imagery with some of his strongest songs in years backed of the
classic sounds of the E- Street band. www.brucespringsteen.net
2. The Waterboys - Book of Lightning
Songs and subject of epic proportion. Mike Scott's gravelly vocal growl
just gets better with time. www.mikescottwaterboys.com
3. Jim Bryson - Where the Bungalows roam
The Kathleen Edwards side-man is one of this country's best kept secrets. A
true masterpiece! www.jimbryson.org
4. Martin Stephenson - High 7 Moon 5
A master songsmith adds another gem to his already rich body of work.
www.daintees.com

5. Curt Smith - Halfway, pleased
His angelic voice soars with some of the most beautifully haunting songs
orbiting the universe. www.curtsmithzerodisc.com www.halfwaypleased.com

6. Crowded House - Time On Earth
Another finely crafted piece of art by Neil Finn and CO. In memory of Paul
Hester. www.crowdedhouse.com

7. Rufus Wainwright - Release the Stars
One of the most uniquely gifted artist today releases another beautiful
record. I buy everything Rufus releases!www.rufuswainwright.com
8. Dan Bryk - Discount Store
This piano man is another best kept secret that is destined for global pop
domination. www.bryk.com
9. Kevin Kane - How to Build a Lighthouse
The Grapes of Wrath front man releases the come back record of the year
with undeniable charm and songs that lock in your head as well as your
heart. www.kevinkane.net

10. Vic Chesnutt - North Star Deserter
Vic is back with some of his best work backed by a Canadian all-star
back-up band recorded in Montreal. Lets hope he tours beyond our borders as
well in 2008. www.vicchesnutt.com
11. John Hughes - Time
Released late in 2007 this CD will be a real barn burner for 2008.
Reminiscent of classic and prime Tom Petty. www.johnhughes.ca
12. Ross Neilsen - Early Grave
Heavy hearted Blues that will rock the very depths of your soul. Just
nominated for best blues at this years up coming ECMA's that take's place in
Fredericton. www.rossneilsen.com
13. Dave Gunning - House for Sale
The songwriting troubadour makes the long road feel like your home no
matter where you might be. www.davegunning.com

There you are! Most of these records you can find by going to these sites
or if your in the area take a trip to Backstreet records in Saint John for
your High fidelity shopping experience. Musically yours, The Music Man! - K.V. Style Magazine


Discography

John recorded an all original, 11 track album in Nashville this past summer with Joe Hardy (ZZtop, .38 special, Steve Earle, Tom Cochrane, Kim Mitchell) producing. The album, entitled "Time" will be released this coming December.

Photos

Bio

John Hughes is an unsigned, Canadian singer/songwriter from Rothesay, New Brunswick. A self taught drummer, John was playing in bands, performing in bars and school dances by the time he was fifteen. While attending high school, John's band, "Trix", recorded a 45 single in Halifax, which received airplay from local radio stations. Excited by the success of their first single, Trix moved to Toronto after all the members graduated from high school. Writing and performing for three years, John eventually grew tired of the music business and moved back home to New Brunswick.

In the late 80's, while attending university, John began to learn guitar. He re-strung an acoustic guitar upside down to suit his left handedness. Before long, he was playing guitar, harmonica, singing, and fronting the Neil Young tribute band "Broken Arrow". He performed in Rome, Italy at a 60th Birthday Celebration which was organized in Neil's honor.

Although Broken Arrow had much success, John figured his own material would never be taken seriously as long as he was fronting a tribute band - Broken Arrow ended to make way for John's own material.

In the summer of 2006, Neil Young called out publicly looking for protest songs against the Bush Administration and the War in Iraq. The approved songs would be posted on Neil's official website. John wrote and recorded the single "Bring 'em On", which remained 1 on Neil Young's list of protest songs for the better part of a year (along side such names as Pearl Jam, Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle and Pink among others). John was invited to perform in Hollywood with some of the other performers from Neil's list.

John was then introduced to Joe Hardy, a veteran record producer/engineer best known for his work with ZZtop, .38 Special, Steve Earle and Georgia's Satellites. Joe produced John's debut album entitled "TIME". Recorded in Nashville in August and September 2007, the album is an expression of nearly thirty years of writing and performing - a look at an artist rich in experience, rebellious spirit, interesting tales and a keen passion for song writing.