Philly by way of Pennsville, New Jersey’s Night Windows is the brainchild of prolific songwriter Ben Hughes. 2015 saw Hughes release more than a hundred songs over the course of the year; exactly an album a month. The albums, listened to in their totality, serve as a chronological offering into Hughes’ mindset and an audio log of the formation and progress of his songs and songwriting ability. The discography captures songs written over the course of nearly a decade and some of the themes from these early recordings can come off as scattered and disparate, smattered with occasional genius turns of phrase and heady, memorable guitar work. Hughes’ work shines brightest when he puts on his rose-tinted spectacles and looks to the past, then takes them off when he looks at the present; lyrics describing breezy and often sentimental memories of a youth all spent up that slowly give way to a stark reality of adult life saddled by an unexpected monotone drudgery of making ends meet in a world on the brink of becoming a dystopia.
The band Night Windows gives focus and clarity to Hughes; taking all his finest moments and honing them under a coherent umbrella. Bass player Ryan Buzby (Hughes’ lifetime friend and the man behind the mixing board for many of the aforementioned solo records) and drummer Tad Lecuyer add a crucial third party perspective on these songs. Buzby and Lecuyer’s additions give the listener some space to step back and appreciate the incredibly memorable melodies by giving them a strong musical bed to lie in. Unlike other primarily singer/songwriting types, whose material fails to translate when opened up to more instrumentation; Hughes’ best songs succeed because of the band rather than despite them.
Night Windows latest release, Home, was recorded in Hughes’ garage between tours (tours which included a stint at SXSW and a well received Daytrotter session) and produced by indie hero Fred Thomas. Two of the songs appearing on the release (Home and I Miss You & The Weekend) have been previously recorded and released by Hughes. The band has already wrestled command of these songs live, bringing them into a new light by adding energy and finesse. Thomas has his fingerprints all over them too; not only by adding vocals, playing guitars and synth, but writing his own parts and providing a sagely air to the band’s material. The result is the strongest effort yet by a band that has already produced a string of robust releases.
Home releases March 31st on Black Rd Records. Night Windows will be sharing the bill with Fred Thomas and Maxwell Stern on March 28th at Boot and Saddle.
Release Show Tuesday 03/28 at Boot & Saddle in Philly
with Fred Thomas, HLEP & Maxwell Stern.
released March 31, 2017
Ryan Buzby - bass VI, percussion & group vocals.
Ben Hughes - guitars, vocals, synthesizer & korg mini pops 5.
Tad Lecuyer - drums, percussion & group vocals.
Fred Thomas - synthesizers, guitars & backing vocals.
Produced by Fred Thomas & Night Windows.
Engineered by Ryan Buzby at The Wheelhouse (Pennsville, NJ) & Fred Thomas at Life Like Studios (Montreal, QC / Ann Arbor, MI).
Mixed & Mastered by Ryan Buzby at Mobile Home Recording (Mannington, NJ).
All music performed by Night Windows & Fred Thomas
All songs written by Ben Hughes (Benjamin Hughes ASCAP).
Check out Fred's music: