Tom Hunter's bio sheet sports endorsements from Eddie "The Chief" Clearwater and Hubert Sumlin. A true professional, Hunter performs at more than 300 gigs per year, and his experience shows on his third album of bouncing blues, Here I Go Again.
The album is dominated and driven by Hunter's tremendous skills on Hammond Organ, Fender Rhodes, and piano. His voice is gruff and southern; his piano style is in that Louisiana style of Jerry Lee Lewis. Like The Killer, he works as a stylist on a variety of arrangements from Sonny Rollins, Ray Charles, Tom Watts, and even Billy Joel. With a Chicago-style band (bass, drums, guitar, and the occasional sax), Hunter has developed an overall sound unlike anyone else's.
Hunter makes use of three songs by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Doc Pomus, a jazz singer who was inspired by Big Joe Turner. Pomus' list of song credits is massive, and his influence on Hunter as a young musician must have been great.
"I Underestimated You" has a syncopated downbeat and fancy piano work that back up comedic lyrics about a man who gets swindled out of everything in two short weeks by his love interest. Hunter's over-the-top groans and moans work as special effects, adding more humor to this Pomus original. "Imitation of Love" (Pomus/Mac Rebennack) is jazzy and bluesy, with a long instrumental introduction.
"Here I Go Again" is Hunter's first original on the album. Gospel-style background singers and natural, relaxed piano parts are the features of the tune, which sounds a lot like Big Joe Turner's "Cherry Red." Hunter follows with another Pomus tune, "The Night is a Hunter," a jazzy, slightly-funky easy-listening piece.
Hunter's rendition of "New York State of Mind" is slow, thoughtful and subdued. Peter Vircks' sensual sax floats lightly behind the vocals and piano. This is a feature of the CD.
Although Hunter's keyboard work is featured more than guitar, he gives Gunvaldson a solo bit in each song, including R. Bogart Jr.'s countrified "Ever Since the World Began." Tom Watts "New Coat of Paint" follows with a perfect combination of jazz and blues, which is performed theatrically and dynamically by Hunter and his band. "New Coat of Paint" is the highlight of the album.
The New Orleans sound of "Basin Street Blues" (by Spencer Williams) is an excellent choice for Hunter's abilities as is Sonny Rollins' jazz instrumental "Tenor Madness." Hunter's tune "Nothing's For Free" re-establishes the traditional Chicago blues sound on the album. Ray Charles' blues ballad "Drown in My Own Tears" is more-than-respectably covered just before Hunter finishes the album with a blues original, "Layin' in the Alley." Back to comedic lyrics, Hunter says "I was layin' in the alley, and a dump truck run over me. I was layin' back in the alley, and a dump truck run over me. I drank up about a fifth of Courvoisier. I was stoned as I could be." This fun blues piece has a great instrumental break that bounces the blues right to the cliff and pushes it over the edge with some far out jazz. A show tune kind of bridge brings Hunter back to his laughable lines.
This album will be great for lovers of blues, jazz, theatrical music, and standards. Hunter plays the kind of music that keeps audiences around until the very end of the night.
The band members are: Jon "Gunner" Gunvaldson on guitar; Keith Boyles on bass; Rob Stupka on drums; Saxophonist Peter Vircks on "New York State of Mind"; Tonya Hughes, Nesey Davis, and Latonius Earl on background vocals (Here I Go Again, Drown in My Own Tears); and Background Vocal Arranger F. Darnell Davis.
For more information on Tom Hunter, visit www.tomhunterblues.com.
For publicity, contact Betsie Brown at Crows Feet Productions, 901-278-6850 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tom can be reached for booking at 651-230-7418, email@example.com