“Finally a cable that makes me feel like there’s nothing between my favorite guitar and my favorite amp” – Jedd Hughes
Growing up in the small south Australian town of Quorn, Jedd was first given the gift of country music by his father, who loved the sounds of Australian traditional country singer Slim Dusty, and American icons such as Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins. At age eight, he won first place at the Port Pirie Country Music Festival. One year later, Jedd’s dad gave him a few guitar lessons, and by age 10 he was playing a custom-made De Gruchy acoustic guitar. At 12, Jedd was chosen to represent Australia on a three-week tour of Europe, performing at the International Music For Youth festivals held in France, Belgium and Sweden. “My parents knew I was into music, but they didn’t really know how far I would take it,” says Jedd. “After that tour happened, I think they figured I was pretty serious about it.” Attending South Plains College proved to be more than a confidence-builder – it also led to Jedd’s meeting with the man who’d soon be his producer, Terry McBride. Terry, who’d enjoyed much success with his trio McBride and the Ride, did a workshop at the college. Later at a student showcase, he noticed there was something different about the young guitarist who was expertly picking a tribute to Chet Atkins and Roy Nichols on his guitar and singing a Buddy Miller song with soul beyond his years. He talked with Jedd after the show and offered to write with him if he ever made the move to Nashville. Soon after, Jedd called Music City home and the pair began writing. “We probably wrote over 80 songs between April 2002 and March 2003,” notes Jedd. Since his move to Nashville, Jedd has earned the respect of Nashville’s elite.
His list of admirers is long – and reads like a “Who’s Who” of country music. The songwriter and accomplished guitar player is beloved by such respected artists as Patty Loveless, Sarah Buxton, Rodney Crowell, Alison Krauss and Guy Clark. If fact, just six weeks after landing in Music City, Jedd auditioned to be the lead guitarist for Patty Loveless. “Billy Thomas, who’d played with Patty on and off through the years, heard that Patty was looking for a new acoustic player and singer to do the Down From the Mountain tour. I was already a fan of her music, so I went and auditioned – and physically shook the whole time,” he recalls, laughing. “I walked out of that audition thinking, ‘There is no way I’m going to get this gig because I just made a complete idiot of myself.’” Yet only one hour later, Jedd was asked to join Patty’s rehearsal – and then he was invited to play the Grand Ole Opry the next night. “So I did, and the day after that I was playing at MerleFest, with Tony Rice standing on the side of the stage! It all happened so quickly and I feel so lucky that it all worked out like that.” “Country music still excites me like I’m four years old,” he adds. “There have always been so many possibilities with country. Cash was doing what he was doing, and Merle was doing his own thing, too. There were all these different country artists, but it was always still country music. And country music is still cool.”