Hell or Highwater (album)

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Hell or Highwater
David Duchovny Hell or Highwater cover art.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 12, 2015 (2015-05-12)
RecordedQ Division Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts
ProducerColin Lee

Hell or Highwater is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter and actor David Duchovny. It was released on May 12, 2015 through Thinksay Records.[1] Duchovny's backing band on the record, Weather, consists of Berklee-trained musicians.[2] The album was produced by Weather member Colin Lee.[3]

The album features a folk rock[4] and alternative rock sound[3] with elements from country music.[1] Duchovny cited various rock and folk artists such as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Wilco, R.E.M., and the Flaming Lips as influences on the record.[1]


David Duchovny began playing guitar only four years prior to the album. All of the songs were written in his apartment. He said that while most songwriters claim that lyrics are the hardest part of songwriting, coming up with the music was harder for him. Although the songs are not confessional or about anyone specific, Duchovny said that they are his life experiences and cited a Neil Simon quote; "Everything's autobiographical, even the stuff you make up."[5] The song "Positively Madison Avenue" was inspired by a Super Bowl commercial featuring Bob Dylan and about the commercialism that his kids were being subjected to.[6]

Having no singing experience, Duchovny took singing lessons from vocal coach Don Lawrence. The album was recorded in a week and a half at Q Division Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts with Berklee-trained musicians.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Consequence of SoundC[7]

Consequence of Sound's Dan Caffrey wrote: "You have to emulate before you can innovate, and as Duchovny continues to hone his musical chops, perhaps he'll transform the sounds of his heroes into something that’s distinctly his own."[7] Jim Farber of New York Daily News described the record as "credible rock album" and noted that Duchovny's singing style was "sullen, inward, and broken, with a character redeemed by a dark charm." Farber also concluded: "In besting the grand majority of other actor/singers, he has done himself proud."[8] Nevertheless, The Washington Times critic Eric Althoff criticized Duchovny's vocals, writing: "Overall, the disc is uneven; when it’s good, it achieves well, but Mr. Duchovny’s vocals prove to be his own worst liability."[9]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by David Duchovny.

  1. "Let It Rain" – 4:35
  2. "3000" – 3:40
  3. "Stars" – 2:58
  4. "Hell or Highwater" – 5:46
  5. "The Things" – 3:57
  6. "The Rain Song" – 4:07
  7. "Unsaid Undone" – 4:16
  8. "Lately It's Always December" – 4:50
  9. "Another Year" – 4:56
  10. "Passenger" – 4:38
  11. "When the Time Comes" – 3:39
  12. "Positively Madison Avenue" – 6:57


  • David Duchovny – vocals, guitar
  • Colin Lee – performance, production
  • Weather – performance


  1. ^ a b c Monger, James Christopher. "David Duchovny biography". AllMusic. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  2. ^ Mansfield, Brian (May 14, 2015). "David Duchovny talks about his debut album". USA Today. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Reed, James (May 9, 2015). "David Duchovny shifts from actor to musician". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  4. ^ Henry, Dusty (May 12, 2015). "Stream: David Duchovny's debut folk-rock album, Hell or Highwater". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Brown, Harley (May 4, 2015). "David Duchovny on His Folksy Debut Album: 'I'm Never Going to Win 'American Idol' But I Do Have Something to Say'". Billboard. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  6. ^ Murray, Nick (May 5, 2015). "Hear David Duchovny's Song Inspired by Bob Dylan's Super Bowl Ad". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Caffrey, Dan (May 7, 2015). "David Duchovny – Hell or Highwater". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  8. ^ Farber, Jim (May 11, 2015). "David Duchovny's 'Hell or Highwater' album review: 'The X-Files' actor makes a credible rock album". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  9. ^ Althoff, Eric (October 21, 2015). "While a solid effort, Duchovny's debut album hamstrung by his unrefined vocals". The Washington Times. Retrieved February 6, 2016.

External links[edit]