Think Van Morrison with equally good material and a textured, New Orleans twang unlike any other voice in America and you have Andrew Duhon. The singer-songwriter’s upcoming performance at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame on Jan. 18 will be his third local appearance with Passing Through Productions.
When you watch Duhon up close, listen to songs from his three CDs, such as “The Moorings,” “Heart of a Man” and “Just Another Beautiful Girl,” he brings to mind Jason Isbell and Eric Anderson in addition to Van Morrison and you’re asking yourself, "Why isn’t this guy famous?" Or more famous outside the Americana genre than he already is.
“The Moorings,” his first CD in 2013, was nominated for a Grammy. His latest CD, “False River,” has been described by American Songwriter magazine as “fresh, innovative and complicated in all the right ways."
The songwriting is meticulous and Duhon goes deep, rarely taking the easy way out. “False River” is charged by electric guitar and laced with lush orchestration.
“A friend in Nashville once told me, ‘A good song has to cost you something,’" Duhon said. “That's accurate.”
In addition to Duhon, the band consists of bassist Maxwell Zemanovic and drummer Jim Kolacek.
“Jim’s a great singer and a lovely addition to the tour who allows us to sing three-part harmony,” Duhon said.
Duhon, 33, has a enthusiastic fan base in Europe and is in the midst of a 10-concert winter tour on the West Coast. Duhon has festival dates he is not allowed to announce yet. He also has been a mainstay on the stage at the Jazz Fest in New Orleans for several years.
His philosophy is simple: “If the next record finds its way to some bigger stream, that’s good. In the meantime, being able to pay myself and a band to stay loyal to this endeavor feels right. Ambition and contentment coexists at the moment. That feels healthy to me. “
Duhon enjoys playing in Bakersfield.
“There are bigger market shows that can feel thankless. Get in, make your mark, load the van, and get out,” Duhon said. “Then there are shows with a human touch that rejuvenate me and the fellas. We look forward to seeing you guys.”
— Herb Benham is a partner in Passing Through Productions.