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Prestwood delights in annual summer gig

Castello di Borghese Vineyard , Cutchogue, N.Y., July 31, 2010

Reviewed by Kelly Salonica

The weather was picture perfect with the only sizzling heat this day being Hugh Prestwood's annual show for the East End Art's Council's Wine Press Concert Series with friends Chris Barron and Jeff Cohen.

Their music was presented Nashville style as they took turns showing off their self-penned tunes, shared behind-the-song stories and poked spontaneous fun at each other.

Cohen, a special guest here a couple of years ago, joined Prestwood's inner circle with his own impressive resume and entertaining brand of humor. Cohen charmed with his co-written top five hit Crazy for This Girl, recorded by pop duo Evan and Jaron.

Prestwood took center stage, kicking off with the song that prompted him to start shopping for a Porsche when it was "almost" recorded by Randy Travis, then the Judds, then was dropped. It was appropriately named That's That and was ultimately picked up by Marty Raybon (of Shenandoah), marking it as the ultimate example of the unpredictable life of a song. Imagery married poetry in a world where "clouds" and "turquoise sky" encourage "making love not making haste" in Time Sure Loves To Waste.

Heartbreak took residence in Ghost In This House (Shenandoah, Alison Krauss), once reviewed as being "numbingly sad," and was born out of a dark period when Prestwood's wife, Judy, was seriously ill and his thoughts went to what life would be like without her. The happy ending to this story is that Judy recovered, and the song went on to be a two-time hit for two different artists. Prestwood admitted that Krauss' version more closely matched his interpretation of the song.

A pending writing session with Neil Diamond, Prestwood shared, had him so nervous and stressed that he canceled with the excuse that his mother was in an accident. Prestwood went on to write the song solo, and the result, On The Verge, became a hit for Collin Raye. Remaining ever current and popular we learned that Sammy Kershaw recently recorded Prestwood's Snow White Rose Of Arlington, which was based on a visit to Arlington Cemetery. Closing out his set, Prestwood performed his signature, award-winning song made famous by Trisha Yearwood, The Song Remembers When.

Guitarist, musician and songwriter Barron is best known as a founding member and the voice of alternative rock band the Spin Doctors, and penned two top five hits for the group that he strategically placed to open (Little Miss Can't Be Wrong) and close (Two Princes) his set with. The latter recently received its 1 millionth radio play-not bad for something he wrote in 37 minutes.

Since competing with Prestwood's style would have been futile, Barron cleverly opted to cling to his self-proclaimed "stupid songs with no redeeming value" like Victim of Fashion, celebrating faded tattoos and sagging piercings, and theme tunes like his "world in a teacup song," The Seat Of Your Pants.

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