In "Rolling Stone's" new "Best of Rock 2011" issue (#1129) magazine staffers and notable artists pick their current favorites in the music biz. Categories include best sideman (the fabulous Buddy Miller, who in my book is a great solo singer-songwriter as well as a fine sideman) and best ukelele hero (who else but Jake Shimabukuro). Under the heading "Best Roots" songwriter Jackson Browne mentions Charlotte singer-songwriter Benji Hughes who released his ambitious double album debut (and really fine collection of songs) in 2008.
Of Hughes, Browne says: "Benji Hughes, from North Carolina, is also an unbelievably good singer-songwriter. He looks like he stepped out of the back cover of an Allman Brothers record in 1975. He's wickedly funny but also utterly romantic. Music is just so alive and kicking under the radar right now."