Neilson Hubbard

Acts Playing South by Southwest

Neilson Hubbard

Why Men Fail (Parasol)

Surely Neilson Hubbard wants you feel sorry for him. Why else would he be whining endlessly (okay, it's only for about 46 minutes) on Why Men Fail? Listening to his songs, one gets the feeling that Hubbard is reaching for some big statement, trying to portray something of overwhelming sadness. But his creaky whimper of a voice and his cliched lyrics reek of melancholy without justification, undermining any intended impact. Listening to him ramble on about what he's lost -- "her father's Buick," the "last American hero," Hollywood, and other subjects that he sheds little light on -- one keeps wanting the Mississippi-based songwriter to get angry. We want him to show some tangible emotion beyond his consistent moan, yet one song after another seems to amble aimlessly. To his credit, Hubbard has rounded up an interesting group of musicians to help him out; Peter Holsapple (Continental Drifters), David Lowery (Cracker), and Nashville guitarist Will Kimbrough add their talents to the mix. It's not enough. Why do men fail? It's because they can't write a song with a memorable melody and don't have the guts to portray their sense of the world without hiding behind a senseless bunch of disjointed images that are rendered through a sappy wail. (Thursday, March 15, Continental Club, midnight)

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