Andrew Duhon, who is coming to the Bakersfield Museum of Art on Thursday, has been compared to John Prine and a younger version of Van Morrison.
His smoky soulful voice (redolent of Duhon's hometown New Orleans) is a throwback to another time, but a good one that listeners want to hear.
He has released four albums including his 2014 gem, "The Moorings," which was nominated for a Grammy and featured one of the best songs of the year.
His latest album, "False River," was described by American Songwriter as "fresh, innovative, and complicated in all the right ways."
Duhon, who considers Bakersfield his aesthetic home away from home (he last played here in 2019), answered some questions via email, expressing how much he, like many other artists, desires to play live again.
Your new album "Emerald Blue" came out in July. How do you feel about it and what's the response been?
The title track was inspired by the color of the water in the Pacific Northwest and the blue-green eyes of the woman, my partner, who I followed up there during the quarantine. The record is a collection of songs I wrote during that downtime. Some were inspired by the social justice awakening, some by the festering need to slow down my own hustle.
This record is about my own prospecting. Prospecting for a more settled life outside of the tour van, prospecting places outside of New Orleans I might find a plot to live a more settled life, prospecting outside my routine, outside my old way of thinking.
What did you do during the shutdown?
I wrote songs! I finished about 43 songs during the quarantine. I shared about 30 of them publicly on YouTube as a "Quarantine Songs Series" and this new record, "Emerald Blue," is 11 of those songs.
This California run is 11 shows and will be the tail end of the "Emerald Blue Release Tour." We've been on the road steady for three months through the Southeast, Northeast, Colorado and Pacific Northwest, and Cali will be our last stop.
Who's in your current lineup?
We've been touring as a trio with Myles Weeks on upright bass and Jim Kolacek on drums for about three years now. They are two of the best musicians I've ever played with, beautiful three-part harmonies to boot. The most encouraging thing is to have two musicians who could play with anyone both willing to get in my beat-up van and travel. That's special.
Are you still living in New Orleans?
We live in the van! I still have an apartment in New Orleans, but I'd like a place that is a little easier in the summer.
Are you still having fun?
When you're young, it's wanderlust. It didn't matter that I wasn't making money or that no one was listening. It was the journey. It still is, but I'd be disillusioned by now if I hadn't found some semblance of bona fide response/validation that these songs were serving people to hear and not just serving me to write. This journey ignites the hunger in me to write a truer song.
Andrew Duhon will perform Thursday at the Bakersfield Museum of Art courtesy of Passing Through Productions. Bakersfield's Rove Benham will open the show.
Herb Benham is a partner in Passing Through Productions. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.