A month of Wednesdays here feels right to Hummon

March 28, 1996|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

There's no denying that Marcus Hummon's April residency tour is a good gimmick. For four weeks, the Nashville-based singer will be spending Mondays in Boston, Tuesdays in Philadelphia, Wednesdays in Baltimore and Thursdays in Pittsburgh, and though he won't be covering as much ground as he would on a traditional road trip, he'll surely get a lot of mileage off the novelty of the tour.

But what Hummon liked about the concept wasn't its P.R. potential, but its familiar feel. Because playing the same clubs on a regular basis was how this singer/songwriter came up in the country music community.

"I'd been in town just over 10 years, trying to get a singer/songwriter deal, and developed a band in town of other singer/songwriters," he says, over the phone from his Nashville home. "We'd get together and do my stuff. In the meantime, I had a publishing deal and would just keep putting material in the catalog. But the club shows became pretty successful here in town, so I was able to hang in there, keep it going for a while."

It isn't just the familiarity that makes club bookings attractive, though. "I am by nature a club performer," he says. "I like the hands-on, intimate quality of it. There's no smoke and mirrors involved in this kind of approach.

"When folks come out, they're going to see that you either can or cannot present the record. And I thrive on that. In some ways, the smaller the club, the happier I am."

It helps that Hummon has a gift for the kind of quiet, lyric-oriented songwriting that thrives in a nightclub's intimate environs. It's not that he can't crank out simple, radio-friendly tunes; his debut album, "All In Good Time," definitely has its share of quick-and-catchy numbers. But he's far more proud of work like "One of These Days," an introspective narrative of hurt and forgiveness that may not draw the listener as quickly as a pop single, but which leaves a much more lasting impression.

"If we're going to call ourselves artists, we simply cannot be slaves to a three-minute, 30-second format," he says. "I love writing popular stuff. I mean, 'Honky Tonk Mona Lisa,' 'The Next Step,' I've got stuff that has some of that pop to it.

"But in many ways, 'One of These Days' was the center of the record, around which all things were built. Because as a live performer and a musician, I feel like my job is to take people as far inside myself, and into what I have to offer as an artist, as I possibly can."

And as far as he's concerned, the best thing about his residency tour is that it will give him the time and opportunity to draw listeners in. "A residency is a wonderful place to see that kind of vision through," he says. "I'm going into this thing to have a good time, meet a lot of folks and really get a chance to do my music."

WHEN: Every Wednesday in April, starting April 3, 9 p.m.

WHERE: Nashville's

TICKETS: Free

CALL: (410) 252-7373, Ext. 739

Sundial: To hear excerpts from Marcus Hummon's new release, "All In Good Time," call Sundial at (410) 783-1800 and enter the four-digit code 6164. For other local Sundial numbers, see the Sundial directory on Page 2A.

Pub Date: 3/28/96

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