Standout Track: No. 6, “My Friend Hates Me,” a hook-laden inquiry into the temperament of the singer’s on-again, off-again best bud. Huxley ponders self-incriminating possibilities (“Did I stop being funny?” “Maybe I was an asshole.”) counterbalanced by knowing jabs (“Maybe he’s back on drugs.”), both set against Bic-flicking lead-guitar lines that conjure power-pop titans Big Star and Badfinger.
Musical Motivation: Bethesda-based Huxley, who reports that age “40 is way back in the rearview,” emerged from the same Southern indie scene that midwifed REM. The track, he says, “was inspired by this buddy of mine”—a fellow musician who’s heard the song but has no idea it’s about him—“who can feel like my closest pal one day and a total stranger the next.” The tune came close to writing itself: “The first couple lines—‘My friend hates me and I don’t know why/We used to be super tight’—came in a rush, a lyric married to a melody,” Huxley says. “Eventually you realize it’s not about you at all. It’s your friend’s psychological complexities intersecting your world at odd angles.”
Power Pop: Huxley’s résumé includes four Top 20 co-writing credits (including Foreigner’s “With Heaven on Our Side”) and a stint with second-generation ELO kingpins the Orchestra. These days, though, Huxley sticks close to home, teaching music while “always working on the next P. Hux album.” A collaboration with neuroscientist Dan Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain on Music, is in the works, and a growing family is part of his lengthy to-do list. “I’m staying busy,” Huxley says. “Did I mention I have a new baby daughter?”
Parthenon Huxley performs with Cathy Ponton King at Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle in Bethesda on Saturday, Sept. 13.