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Post Info TOPIC: Producer Dann Huff: The Man Behind the Hits


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Producer Dann Huff: The Man Behind the Hits

By Alison Bonaguro

Does Dann Huff have some kind of magic fairy dust he’s sprinkling on country albums? Or is he just so good at what he does that he can hit the top spot on the Billboard’s country albums chart three weeks in a row?

There’s no dust. Maybe just a little blood, sweat and tears, though. This highly-regarded Nashville nice guy produced the all three of the last No. 1 albums: Martina McBride’s Shine, Keith Urban’s Defying Gravity and Rascal Flatts‘ Unstoppable.

This from a man who didn’t even listen to country music when he was growing up in Nashville. His circuitous career path led him out of Nashville to Los Angeles, through years as a session guitarist for rock bands to eventually playing on a Shania Twain album. It was Twain’s producer (and then husband) Mutt Lange who told Huff, “You are a producer in guitarist’s clothes.” He was flattered but didn’t know where to start until Lange recommended Huff to Faith Hill. “At that time, I had just hooked up with Megadeth, but I was able to work with Faith, too,” he says.

As for his current winning streak, Huff told me, “There was no secret methodology in doing this stuff. But I did lose a lot of sleep. I just didn’t see how I could get my head around them all and do it well.” But he does admit to one trade secret: He tries to be transparent enough so that the talent of artist comes through. That’s a trick he picked up as a session player, because it requires that you embrace the change of musical styles as opposed to resisting that change.

He doesn’t play favorites, though. When I asked him to give me his own personal No. 1 off each album, he said, “Every song was my favorite song.” And with that, our conversation had to come to an end, because Lee Ann Womack had just pulled into his driveway. Could her next album be another No. 1 debut? If Huff’s at the helm, I have no doubt.



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Maybe Shania should look him up again and use him as her producer. That would be cool.
Warmest regards as always,

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