Americana music pioneer Cary Hudson arrives at the Woodshop in Chattanooga

Photo courtesy of Chad Edwards/MCE Photography / Cary Hudson is an American/alt-country artist who was at the forefront of genres in the 80s and 90s. He will perform February 5 at The Woodshop in St. Elmo.

Mississippi native Cary Hudson said moving to Los Angeles in 1990 gave him a different perspective on music and helped open his eyes to the idea of ​​celebrating his heritage, upbringing, musical tastes and his accent.

“You don’t realize you have an accent until you walk away,” he said in a phone interview.

For Hudson, country music was what he listened to with his grandfather, a man who loved country pioneer Jimmie Rodgers. Hudson also learned to play country like blues greats Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside, and he loved the outlaw country of Waylon Jennings, but he said the idea of ​​basing his own music and style on these guys didn’t seem like a good idea. until it moves west.

“It was in Los Angeles that I became more aware of where I came from,” he said.

He was also listening to bands like the Replacements, the Jayhawks and Hüsker Dü at the time, and his eyes started to open when a friend told him he thought the style of blues guitar he occasionally played was cool. .

“I was also in outlaw country with people like Waylon, so I had that in my past, but I just didn’t think it was cool at the time. I started to understand that my special power was that I was from the South.”

Hudson, who will perform a solo acoustic set Feb. 5 with “Just Little ol’ me, my ’37 arch top with an internal pickup and my ’67 amp” at The Woodshop in St. Elmo, has been at the forefront of the alt-country/Americana movement with bands like the Hilltops and later Blue Mountain.

He was joined in the former by twins John Stirratt (now with Wilco) and Laurie Stirratt, who was also Hudson’s wife and teammate at Blue Mountain.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO

— What: Cary Hudson

— When: 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 5

— Where: The Woodshop, 5500 St. Elmo Ave.

— Admission: $20

— Phone: 423-803-6165

He said he knew about the movement as it happened. Over the years he has performed with artists like Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, The Jayhawks and Willie Nelson. Hudson began a solo career in 2002 when the band went on hiatus.

“For me, there was an awareness of what was going on because we knew bands like Uncle Tupelo and the Jayhawks. We knew those guys. And, even though we didn’t know those guys, we knew Jason and The Scorchers.

“It felt like we were embarking on this journey between punk rock, country rock and blues rock,” he said.

“One of the coolest things about this scene was that the punk-rock scene wasn’t trying to be slick or slick, although bands like the Jayhawks were very slick, but it was kind of rough and rowdy.”

Hudson said he’s been on tour lately, but mostly in and around Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. The pandemic gave him time to find his songwriting muse, so he wrote. He also rediscovered his love for his electric Les Paul, which he had put aside for a while, and he started a band “to rock”.

“The Les Paul is like me and was torn to pieces, but I spent money and fixed it with new electronics and stuff. I got it back and I thought : ‘Wow, that’s a lot of fun.'”

For now, however, he says he’s happy playing his acoustic guitar, telling stories and singing his songs.

“I’m excited to come to Chattanooga,” he said.

Contact Barry Courter at [email protected] or 423-757-6354.

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