Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Eric Hughes celebrates his fourth CD "Drink Up!"- a
celebration of the sounds of Memphis. Hughes has honed his vocal, guitar,
and harmonica skills over the last twelve years in the clubs on Beale
Born and raised in Memphis, Eric Hughes spent his weekends in Mississippi, where both sets of grandparents lived. These two worlds of Mississippi rural blues and Urban Memphis blues combined in Eric's young heart throughout high school and on to his short stint at Mississippi College; Hughes was apt to slip away at any chance available, and would visit the blues clubs in Memphis, Holly Springs, Clarksdale, Helena, and Jackson. Hughes was first a blues fan, later a musician.
As a homesick Marine, Hughes visited a pawn shop near his base in North Carolina. Here he bought a guitar, hoping that learning some blues would ease his longings for home. His life was forever changed, and Hughes spent the next ten years roaming and learning blues from whomever he could, before returning to Memphis in 1997.
After spending a couple of years with the Memphis Songwriters Association, Eric was recognized with a Nelson Award.
Hughes began playing in the clubs on Beale Street, solo/acoustic at first, then later forming the Eric Hughes Band. In 2001, Hughes entered the Beale Street Blues Society's "Battle of the Bands", earning Second Place. In 2002, Hughes was nominated as "Best New Band" by the Memphis Commercial Appeal. 2002 also saw the release of Eric Hughes Band's first CD, "Paycheck Boogie". The CD was well-received by critics and has become a favorite of fans. One song, "Gone To Mississippi", was chosen for Blues Revue Magazine's Sampler CD.
by 2004, Hughes was performing 3 to 5 nights a week in the clubs on Beale Street, and had become, as Living Blues Magazine stated: "...a guaranteed crowd-pleaser."
Also in 2004, Hughes released his second CD: "Two In the Morning"; this CD saw songs charting in the Top Twelve on two occasions. "Two In the Morning" was selected by the Crossroads Blues Society as "Best Self-Produced CD", and represented them in the International Blues Challenge.
In 2005, as a result of the numerous jams he hosted, Hughes formed the Memphis Blues Society, and served as its first president.
2006 and 2007 saw Hughes continue to develop, and marked a productive period of writing and performing.
In 2007, The Eric Hughes Band won the Memphis "Battle of the Blues", and represented Memphis in the International Blues Challenge. That same year, Eric released "Live On Beale", a CD of live-recorded blues performed over a two-nighter at Rum Boogie Cafe.
Hughes was again selected in 2010 to represent Memphis Blues Society at The IBC, this time as an acoustic Jug-band duo with longtime partner Guy Venable.
The following year Hughes and Venable released a home-recorded CD called "Fleeing The Scene", as Hughes was honored at Rum Boogie for ten years of performing there.
Hughes' new release, "Drink Up!" is enjoying airplay on an ever-increasing list of radio stations, and has received extremely positive reviews.