James Hunter's new album Minute by Minute (Fantasy) is tremendously exciting. If you love R&B riffs and hooks and a raw soulful voice, this one has it all. As I write at WSJ.com today (go here), Hunter has faced his share of hardship. His soul survivor instincts owe much to his grandmother's R&B collection, particularly records by Ray Charles. [Photo above of James Hunter by Ruth Ward]
Hunter's voice has the same hurt and sass as Charles and Sam Cooke, and on his new albumproduced by Gabriel Roth, co-founder of Daptone Recordshe hits the mark on every track. Hunter was discovered by Van Morrison in Wales some years back and then Hunter toured with him.
Says Hunter: What I learned from Van wasn't songwriting tricks but more of a performance thing. Van has a way of using the microphone like an instrument. He has a built-in compressor in his voicedelivering a consistent level of volume whether he's singing low or letting it all out."
This is my favorite no-nonsense blue-eyed soul album of the year thus far. It's hip, it snaps and, best of all, it's honest.
JazzWax tracks: On Tuesday, the James Hunter Six's Minute by Minute (Fantasy) will be available to sample and download. Until then, you can stream the entire album here for free.
As you know, I rarely post about albums in advance (no point torturing you). But I wanted to tell you about this discovery on the same day as my chat with Hunter at WSJ.com. Stick up a Post-it reminder to circle back on Tuesday, when tracks become active here.
JazzWax video: Here's a trailer that bundles track samples from Minute by Minute...
Jam-packed with 100 pages covering a wide range of styles, subjects and from around the world—each issue includes interviews, profiles, columns, album reviews, web site news, and free MP3s. The AAJ magazine is available across all devices, can be shared socially, and opened from anywhere without the need to download an app.