Friday, April 21, 2006

Surfing Through James Hunter

Saw the smooth British soulster James Hunter in concert last night. The space was Mo Pitkin's on the very lower very east side (seats about 65 people), a great little venue I'd never been to before. The show was just terrific, with Hunter both giving his all and too cool to ever break a sweat. I assumed the band was composed of his regulars, since they were so tight. But the fellows at NYCD called it: this was an American pickup, making their swinging all the more admirable. (They've been playing with him for a while and will roam the country for a while, so they'll only get better.) Van Morrison is the one plugging the CD, which you should buy immediately. But he doesn't have that pastoral, mystic vibe of classic Morrison. This is urban, blue-eyed soul, smooth and tight. From the ska-influenced "People Gonna Talk" to the classic pop/r&b feel of "I'll Walk Away," this is not some retro act: Hunter isn't aping old styles, just producing timeless music. Saw another act at the Mercury Lounge later last night -- after seeing Hunter, that just wasn't fair.

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