Joseph Huber "The Hanging Road" 12" RECORD (Muddy Roots Music Recordings)
*Joseph Huber Brings His Honest Sound to Muddy Roots Records for The Hanging Road*
It was at the 2012 Muddy Roots Festival. Joseph Huber was on stage before a crowd of music lovers who had spent a long day under the blistering late-summer Tennessee sun. As Huber began his song, “Can't You See A Flood's A-Comin',” the skies opened – the rain swelling in intensity to match the foreboding prophecy of the song. The crowd stood transfixed, basking in a moment of true musical transcendence.
While Huber lays no claim to elemental powers, that moment speaks volumes of his ability to hold a crowd enraptured with just a song, a guitar and his voice. It’s a talent he developed as a founding member of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin based "streetgrass" group, the .357 String Band, and that he’s continued to demonstrate as one brightest lights of the insurgent country and bluegrass movement – giving honest country music back to the people who want to hear it.
Now, with The Hanging Road, he joins the Muddy Roots Records family with an album of 10 tunes that demonstrate true craftsmanship while also showing a proper understanding for “necessary roughness” – giving his songs an edge that is lacking from most modern Americana music.
The Hanging Road’s musical diversity is the stuff that that market analysts nightmares are made of, but for Huber, it’s an integral part of his musical vision. “For me,” he says, “each individual song comes on its own, exists in a whole of its own, and if it doesn't sound like any other, then all-the-better. This album has Cajun, amped-up bluegrass, country and stripped-down singer-songwriter songs that range from the carefree to all-out hopelessness. That's why I enjoy playing music under just my own name. The music is whatever I change into as I grow older. I'll always be Joseph Huber--no matter what that becomes.”
Like his first two albums, Bury Me Where I Fall and Tongues of Fire, The Hanging Road is a one-man production with Huber playing all the instruments and personally overseeing the recording. “It might sound OCD to some to do everything myself,” he says, “but I like the idea of an individual musical vision being presented from the artist regardless of the fact that extreme production or outside influence might make it sound more clean or presentable.”
Huber’s affinity with his new record label goes far beyond the pleasant memory of that rain-drenched afternoon two years ago. “I'm certainly excited to see what being a Muddy Roots artist will bring. This is the first time in my entire musical career, both with .357 String Band and as a solo artist, that I have released anything on a label. Jason Galaz from Muddy Roots really does believe in and enjoy the tunes he's releasing. He's doing it out of passion and taking chances, regardless of the outcome, and he's attracting folks because of it. It's hard to hand my songs over to someone, but knowing that Muddy Roots Records has that attitude make me want to be a part of it.”
In addition to working with a label, Huber is also looking at changes for his upcoming tour. “I'm expanding my live show,” he says. “Hopefully I can get some of that filled-out album sound onto the actual stage. I love playing solo, but it limits the set-list sometimes, so it's time to get some folks on stage with me.”
With its honest, personal musical vision The Hanging Road is sure to appeal to those who want their country music straight up, in both fair and foul weather.
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