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      Dan Hubbard in Bloomington

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      April 27, 2019

      Saturday   8:00 PM

      209 E Washington St
      Bloomington, Illinois 61701

      Dan Hubbard

      with Laura Joy
      Singer-songwriter Dan Hubbards aptly titled new album, Attention, demands just that.The Illinois native knows his way around a captivating story and a catchy melody, and for the past 15 years hes been recording albums and putting on at least 125 shows a year, sharing the stage with artists like Martin Sexton, Andrew Combs, and Nikka Costa. From 2008-14, he played with his band the Humadors, and their 2011 release, The Love Show, hit the Roots Rock charts Top 50.In 2016 Hubbard collaborated with Nashville producer and 3-time Grammy Nominee Ken Coomer to release the self-titled solo album Dan Hubbard. I was truly happy with it, Hubbard says. I felt like I finally made the record I had always wanted to, and I wasnt in any hurry to do another one. But he had a lot more to say, and the songs on Attention cover everything from lost love and suicide, to brokenness, anger, hatred, anda running theme in all Hubbards workthe redeeming power of love. Hubbardthe youngest of three boyscredits his brother D.J. with inspiring him to write. My older brother started writing songs, and he was really good. Seeing his talent made me believe I might have it in me too. he says. At age nine, Hubbards other brother, Erik, died from brain cancer when he was just 12. By 15, Dan discovered guitar as an outlet. lyrics started coming pretty effortlessly as I learned to play guitar, he says. The feeling I experienced when I finished a songI wanted to keep feeling that. After graduating from Illinois State University, Hubbard knew he wanted to pursue music, and hes been honing his craft ever since.Like his earlier work, Attention draws its subjects from Hubbards life. I tend to be a wallflower, he says. I just observe, and life never stops giving me material. The subject matter has become more intense with this album. Im trying to meet people in their deepest, most vulnerable places, and let them know that theyre not alone. What havent changed are Hubbards vocals, which alternate between powerful rock and blues shouts to tender inflections. His notes soothe, pulling us into the warmth of the music before his lyrics burn their message on our hearts.The 11-song collection opens quietly enough with the first verse of Run Towards the River, as Hubbard whispers urgently, Count of three, move your feet, like you never have in your life/One last look at the years he took, now theres no time left for goodbye/Take a deep breath, watch the trees blow, hand on the handle, its time to go. Barely audible, the lyrics quickly blossom into a warningwatch for the wickedand encouragementthere will be love waiting for youin a tune fueled by propulsive guitars and drums that mimic the desperate need to flee. This song looks at different abusive relationships, urging the victims to realize whats happening to themand to get out, Hubbard says.Poison Words illustrates Hubbards subtle genius by balancing swelling horn choruses with aching steel guitar, subtle gospel piano flourishes, and shimmering roots rock guitars. Hubbard says he wrote the song out of his frustration with the church. I consider myself a Christian, he says. But there are aspects of it that I struggle with. The songs chorus repeats poison words almost like a prayer, calling into account the churchs treatment of the LGBTQ community.Scars shares the anguish and fear that Hubbards family felt when they learned his brother Eriks illness was terminal. The day he died wasnt the worst day, Hubbard says. It was the day we found out he was going to die. Scars is the sparsest song on the album, with the tinkling of bells and a haunting steel guitar.On the flipside, the funky Aint No Fountain dances around the bankruptcy of our dreams, while Every Time I See Your Face delivers a gospel-inflected jazz tune that celebrates thepromise of love. Its a song about God disguised to sound like its about a significant other,Hubbard says cheekily. Attention closes with 80, a simple soul number that celebrates life,even in the face of the unknown: 80 years old/Into the unknown/Scared and alone/Still loverock-n-roll.Hubbards new album reminds us that hes been here all along, writing powerful songs that touch our hearts and ask difficult questions about the world we live in. He challenges and reassures us at the same time, the hallmark of a great songwriter. Were all struggling. I get it because Im in this, too, he says. I just want to make people reflect.When we pay Attention, Dan Hubbard gets us to smile, cry, and think deeply about our sharedhuman experience.

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