The JAMES HUNTER Six
It takes you by surprise just how good James Hunter is. Van Morrison called him "one of the best voices and best kept secrets in British R&B and soul.” In the early Nineties, Van Morrison caught Hunter at a gig in Wales and subsequently hired him as a backup singer for several years of touring and recording. James appeared on Morrison’s live album, "A Night in San Francisco," and on the studio set, "Days Like This."
James Hunter has certainly paid his dues. Over the span of 30 years, he’s worked on the railway, busked in the streets of London, provided backup vocals and guitar for Van Morrison, played clubs and theatres all over the world, written scores of original songs, and recorded some of the most original and honest rhythm & soul albums of the last two decades. At age 16, Hunter left school in Colchester, Essex and began working for the railway, while honing his blues guitar and singing skills. Six years later, he played his first paid gig at the Colchester Labour club (as “Howlin’ Wilf and the Vee-Jays”). In the decades since, James Hunter has gone from singer/songwriter to labourer and back again. His gritty, soulful voice has matured well along with his musicianship and songwriting. With widespread critical acclaim for his recordings plus a Grammy nomination, it's still the live performances that reveal Hunter at his best.
Over the last decade, he's toured extensively around the world on the club, theatre, and festival circuits, steadily growing a dedicated audience comprised of hardened gig-goers, old-school baby boomers, and young hipsters alike. His follow-ups "The Hard Way" and "Minute By Minute" (GO/Fantasy), further cemented Hunter's reputation as a soul powerhouse, heralded for his talents both as a live performer and perhaps even more so as a songwriter, with The New Yorker describing his "tight, taut compositions" as "rooted in American soul music without being bound to it."
When Hunter burst onto the scene with his U.S. debut "People Gonna Talk,” he topped the Billboard Blues chart, earning a Grammy-nomination, and attracting universal acclaim from critics and his fans - including Van Morrison, Sharon Jones, and Allen Toussaint. With its affectionate echoes of Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson, that disc became an airplay staple on some of the nation’s most influential radio stations. The Los Angeles Times praised James Hunter’s “extraordinary soul voice.” Rolling Stone called his album “a treat not to miss.” By the year’s end, "People Gonna Talk" was among the Top Ten “Best Albums of 2006” as cited by Mojo, USA Today and the WFUV listeners’ poll, to name a few. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album and James himself was nominated as Best New/Emerging Artist in the annual Americana Music Awards.
Watch "Chicken Switch" HERE - Watch James with Sharon Jones HERE