I recently discovered blue-eyed soul and blues man James Hunter. Heard him on satellite radio and then noticed he was performing in Beaver Creek, CO, right after my visit. Who’s this guy?
Hunter is a blend of James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Van Morrison (who’s a big fan, turns out) and many R&B singers of the past. Really, he’s got the perfect Beach Music (Southeastern US-style) sound. A Beach Music artist from Essex England?
I’m always amazed at the ability of the British, with all the pomp and circumstance as part of their culture, to sing the blues. Hunter sounds pretty close to James Brown at times and even a little like Ray Charles.
His guitar playing, however, sounds like a garage band player just starting out. It’s a choppy, frenetic, nervous style that hits the right notes but doesn’t sound confident enough to stay there. I believe this is a case of the band leader (with an incredible voice) taking control and deciding he’s going to be the guitar player! It’s all OK, because the band….horns, Hammond B-3, drums, bass….is really excellent, along with Hunter’s vocals, of course.
When you’ve got the power (in this case, Hunter’s vocal prowess), you don’t have to be a world class stylist to be a world class performer.