Single Review: Kevin Pugh “Straight Up”

Posted: September 25, 2013 in Single Review
Tags: , , ,

Sometimes a smash hit single gets a new life when someone new takes that hit and does their version of the tune but in a much different way. That’s the way it should be. Why do it exactly the way the original artist did it? If you want to do a version of the song, set yourself apart from the original artist with a version that says ‘this is my version, not yours’. The musician Kevin Pugh took this mindset when he went about doing his version of the Paula Abdul hit “Straight Up”. The original version of “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul was one of the most popular and most famous songs from 1988. When Kevin Pugh created his version of the tune, the song ended up going in a Country/Bluegrass direction. What sets Kevin Pugh’s version apart from Abdul’s version (aside from the obvious stylistic difference) is the fact that Pugh created the entire arrangement with his own hands, playing each instrument himself.The resulting track contains enough of the original substance and style of the Paula Abdul version that the listener has no problem imagining the original version. But with the inclusion of mandolin, slide guitar, honky tonk (or “tack”) piano and steel guitar, the song has a definite bluegrass feel to it. And with Rachel Pugh also adding her voice to the track, the song not only feels like a completely different song than the original version, it also seems to have a duet-like quality to it.  While it may not be an original song, “Straight Up” by Kevin Pugh is one true original when it comes to “cover songs”. And while it is not original, the song does show off the definite talent that exists within Kevin Pugh as a musician and arranger.

Rating: ***** (five stars)

Reviewed by: Matheson Kamin

Click HERE to see the video to “Straight Up” from Kevin Pugh

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