The James Hunter Six "Minute By Minute"

The James Hunter Six create music that is both modern and nostalgic

James Hunter is a loyal guy. He’s stuck by the music he’s loved since a kid, mostly rhythm and blues and rock and roll of the 1950s. He’s also stood by his band, six guys who have equally supported their band leader for twenty years. Those decades have often been lean, forcing stints at laboring jobs, but true to his nature, Hunter and the band have continued on their quest to create music that mines the past for fresh sounds.

 Minute By Minute is the first album that Hunter and The Six recorded in the U.S., opting to work with Gabriel Roth, aka Bosco Mann. If that name seems familiar think Daptone Records. Mann is the co-founder of the label that has nearly single handedly revived old soul and R&B music – think Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings. Mann also engineered Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black. Here Mann works to bring out the sharp edges of Hunter’s songs while keeping the production precise and succinct. The band’s years of playing together allows for an easy flow between the players. Strutting bass and tenor sax, snappy drumming, and Hunter’s crisp guitar work, and raspy vocal meld into the band’s defining sound.

 If you’re a fan of Hunter’s two earlier albums you’ll know what to expect on this release. He sticks to his original musical vision although there are a few new twists to this one, including two new keyboard players. “Let the Monkey Ride sports a light reggae rhythm and a few strings and piano accompaniment. For “The Gypsy” Hunter takes on a graveled talky approach, ala Ry Cooder, while the acoustic guitar keeps a Latin beat reminiscent of the old Champs song “Tequilla.” “So They Say” offers a lounge lizard-esque vibe, with organ line tempo, and lushly strummed electric guitar. “Look Out” is a slinky number that sounds like a track from “The Munster’s” television show. “If I Only Knew” offers silky acoustic guitar. When all’s said and done, Minute By Minute is a sweet, relaxing album. Hunter dedicates the album to his late wife Jackie, who died of cancer in 2011.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)