In forming his band, Blue Mountain, Cary Hudson partnered with John Stirratt, who went on to join the late-era Uncle Tupelo, and then Wilco. Hudson’s own gritty alt.country sound strays more into John Mellencamp territory, where he shares Kid Rock’s fascination with good ol’ boy classic Southern rock. “What the Old Man Told Me,” a standard tale of transmitting generational values, is a sturdy rocker distinguished by Hudson’s steamy guitar solo. His slide playing has a similar affect on the jaunty acoustic blues of the title track.
Other songs on the disc, like “Jellyroll,” “8 Ball Blues” and “Bay Street Blues, ” encumbered by standard lyrical clichés, prove little more than vehicles for Hudson’s instrumental prowess. However, on quieter numbers like “Little Darlin’” and “Don’t Hasten Away” he delivers something more earnest and personal by the sheer passion of his commitment to the subject matter. Cool Breeze lacks pretence; Hudson is a fine guitarist delivering work that’s often familiar to other, better songs. It’s the heart felt performances and winning guitar tone that lifts this effort above the bar.