You'd be forgiven for not knowing James Hunter
. But not for long....
While music critics are busy compiling their 'Best of 2005' lists, this out-of-nowhere soul genius has already recorded the first classic album of 2006. A virtual unknown here in the States, The All Music Guide calls Hunter "one of the best blue-eyed soul singers to emerge in the late 20th Century." With his first U.S. release People Gonna Talk
hitting stores on March 7, 2006, Hunter's cover is about to be blown.
Hunter's voice has the kind of depth and nuance that invites comparisons to Sam Cooke
; his songwriting craft and impassioned performances recall Them
-era Van Morrison
- and like those artists, Hunter's music is timeless, sounding instantly classic and perpetually modern. He recorded People Gonna Talk
at Liam Watson's famed Toe Rag Studios in London (also home to the White Stripes
' Grammy-winning, platinum 2003 release Elephant
). Vintage analogue equipment is de rigueur at Toe Rag, and People Gonna Talk was recorded entirely live - without any overdubs, computers, or even headphones - resulting in a rich, warm sound that practically dares the uninitiated to guess its date of origin.
The fourteen songs on People Gonna Talk
were all written by Hunter. From the tight & right ska shuffle of the album's title track (with gorgeous string quartet accompaniment), to the locomotive groove of "Talkin' 'Bout My Love
" to the hushed ballad "Mollena
" which rests on a simple acoustic guitar/saxophone melody bed, the caliber of Hunter's compositions leave the listener stumped as to how this singular artist has gone undiscovered up to now.
Hunter will spend much of December in New York City with a confirmed date at Brooklyn's Barbes on December 14 and other performances to be announced.
"James Hunter is one of the best voices, and best kept secrets, in British R&B and Soul. Check him out."
- Van Morrison
Check out James Hunter's "People Gonna Talk," right here, right now...
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