Jim Hudak, who performs more than 250 shows per year as a solo pianist, has made a conscious decision to move back to his musial roots. This suggests that the Americana music he grew up playing in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Nashville, will once again take on a bigger part in his performances and compositions. As a youth, when Jim first started playing guitar and piano in 1963, the Folk Music Boom/Hootenany Era was still going strong. In addition, his father had several bluegrass and country records around the house that Jim adored, music from the likes of Reno and Smiley, Ferlin Husky, and Chet Atkins, and the folk/country/bluegrass influences began to take hold. But then, so did the music of Elvis Presley, Tchaikovsky, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and soon thereafter, The Beatles and The Byrds. "The word eclectic only begins to describe my taste in music," says Hudak. "Some would say it's a weakness, but I think it's a good thing to study and embrace as many styles of music as possible. And I've certainly done that." Currently, with the musical lineup he's formed for his upcoming April 28th concert at Round Hill Country Club, the "country-rootsy" vibe has been prominent in the group's rehearsals. "With Sue creating these on the spot violin and fiddle melody lines and riffs that just blow me away, and Dennis doing his usual masterful job on bass, and now Gary bringing some incredible and varied rhythmic textures to the sound, it's been just wonderful," Hudak says. "Really, we're playing all kinds of different stuff, but that bluesy Americana-ish sort of sound is standing out, and it's lots of fun." Jim recently contacted Joe Goldmark, one of the most renowned pedal steel players on the West Coast, about working on some musical projects together. Goldmark was receptive, though he's yet to hear any of Jim Hudak's music. "I've long had this idea in my head of the pedal steel working in conjunction with both my piano instrumental playing and also filling its more traditional role with the country-rock sort of stuff I do. Joe is one of the players who, I believe, could do that, and I'll be anxious to see if he sees a fit between us musically," Jim said recently. For now, the Martin guitars are dusted off, the vocal mike is turned on, and Jim is having fun re-exploring some of his musical roots. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out over the coming months and years.

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Jim Hudak

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