There’s something you need to add to your hiking playlist, and it’s Luke Chandler Huffman, also known as LC Huffman.
The Kentucky native, who now resides in northern Idaho, creates heartfelt music for those exploring themselves while venturing outdoors. While it took the move out west for Huffman to advance his musical career, his acoustic roots remain planted in Kentucky.
“There was some weird guitar player that came to my town in Kentucky when I was younger, and he was kind of famous for teaching guitar,” Huffman said. “He offered a bunch of people in my town lessons, so my parents took me and my older brother to go learn from him. He said I would never be able to play guitar, and that I was crazy or something. My older brother would come back and play whatever he learned and I then I would go pick up his guitar when he was done and try to do the same thing.”
Eventually, his brother just let him have his guitar. Despite some early discouragement, Huffman stuck with it, showcasing his talent in worship and praise bands in the church—but Huffman still sought out adventure. After spending time exploring the Rocky Mountains and working in construction, Huffman moved to Logan, Utah where he attended Utah State University to refocus his career path. While making music was still on the backburner at this point, the lively college environment provided Huffman with an abundance of inspiration and support from his newfound friends.
“Logan, Utah was huge for me,” Huffman said grinning. “I wrote tons of songs there. I probably have over 500, or more like over 700, unrecorded songs. A good three-fourths of them came from Logan. Logan is a beautiful place, the scenery is amazing. Everybody was super outdoorsy so after class, everybody would be up in canyons hiking and rock climbing. It was a good time.”
Between his college, hometown, and travels, Huffman has enjoyed collaborating with others along the way.
“On the first album, [I made music with] my buddy [Josh Parker] from Kentucky,” Huffman said. “We used to play when I first started out in worship music. He was a guitar player and he’s probably the best guitar player I’ve ever met…He’s just unbelievable…He was on my first EP and [played some background electric guitar] on my second little eight-song album.”
Other artists he has played with at different points include Chuck Deakins, Eric Dalton, and Stockton
Huskinson. Between Dalton, Deakins, and his fiancé, they played different shows and started a small band called “Fireside Poets.” They only made a couple of songs, but have some available online.
Huffman also has a drum credit from Dave Douglas of Relient K on one of his songs. Surprisingly enough, the punk rock band has inspired some of Huffman’s work, especially with the way he writes. Other inspirations include the Allman Brothers and John Mayer.
“The Allman Brothers are huge in influencing how I play guitar and how I write guitar melodies,” Huffman said. “I will do a lot of guitar harmonies or I’ll play a guitar lead and then play another lead over with just the harmony notes. That seems like something I just ripped off of the Allman Brothers. Then, John Mayer. I’ve always been a huge fan of him. I feel like I trained my voice to kind of sound like him, especially early on. I was really trying to sound like him. Now I feel like I’ve got more of my own style, a little more distinguishable, hopefully. But early on I was obsessed with him, so he’s definitely a huge influence.”
By drawing from a mosaic of people and places, Huffman released three EPs and a number of singles to date. He said his favorite tracks—vocally—are “Jess” and “Just Two Kids.” His favorite guitar-based track is “Lil’ Larch.”
“Larch is…my favorite kind of tree,” he said. “In all the songs, I play almost all the instruments [like the mandolin and banjo] and everything, so I have a lot of fun with that.”
Burnt Cedar & Storm Clouds
Huffman has continued experimenting with new sounds on his latest EP, Burnt Cedar & Storm Clouds, which released on June 1.
“[The project] was extremely raw,” he said. “Most of it was done in one take. A lot of it I freestyled [including] most of the guitar and my vocals. I then took the recorded track from that and put it into GarageBand and made a really simple beat on most of them. It had zero production cost because I just did it super easy with my phone. If it still sounds good, I guess it’s a testament that you can do things cheaply and still make it sound okay.
“A lot of them, like, ‘Set in Stone,’ kind of has a little melody and then out of the blue I just started doing some weird guitar stuff and weird vocal stuff and then I just went back and sang some weird vocal harmonies over it. I didn’t plan for it at all, I didn’t write it for that, I just decided to do it on the spot and then it just happened.”
Another unexpected turn that happened while producing Burnt Cedar & Storm Clouds occurred with the recording of “Cliffside.”
“I had the mic turned around so the receiver on the mic was on the backside so the vocals sound super weird,” Huffman laughed. “I didn’t know how to fix it so I just sang another one over it and just overlapped them, synced them up close together so it sounds like it’s one. But yeah, I didn’t know that I just had the mic turned around.”
Burnt Cedar & Storm Clouds is the first release in a three-part series primarily focused on songs from Kentucky. While the next EP is expected to drop mid-August, Huffman is also planning to release a song about getting married for his fiancé on July 17.
Until then, Huffman can likely be found running his environmental science business, residing in his cabin, or building forts in the woods. Maybe you can build a fort in the woods, too.
But if you’re unable, you can just pick a song from LC Huffman’s discography. With gentle instruments and Huffman’s soothing voice, it won’t be long before you’re transported to a place of majestic mountains, rushing water, an ever-present feeling of peace.