Release Date: Feb 26, 2013
Record label: Concord
Genre(s): Pop, R&B, Soul, Blues, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Retro-Soul
Five years between records can be a long time for most artists. James Hunter's not one of them. He's always recorded sporadically, preferring to be a road warrior. He went through some rough stuff between 2008's The Hard Way and 2012: namely, the diagnosis, illness, and eventual death of his wife Jacqueline in 2011 from cancer.
Philip Roth used to joke that the talent of a rabbi could be found in his or her ability to stretch the Hebrew word for Israel into a lengthy multisyllabic phrase. The character Clay Davis from television’s The Wire gained a strong following among fans for his ability to stretch a crasser synonym for manure into a long expressive “Sheeeeiiiittt”. For the British vocalist James Hunter, it’s his gift for turning the word “Heartbreak” into an extended soliloquy.
More than 20 years together, James Hunter's newly anointed Six demonstrate bonded loyalty in sound. Minute by Minute follows the format of the R&B hawk's two previous discs, including 2006's Grammy-nominated People Gonna Talk, unremitting Northern UK soul so authentic it's seemingly beamed from the Sixties. This time out, producer Gabriel Roth, known for his work with Amy Winehouse, Sharon Jones, and Daptone Records, stresses James Brown funk straight out of the box with "Chicken Switch," whereas Hunter's sound mostly echoed Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson in the past.
Hunter’s latest cuts recall the golden ages of soul and blues. Martin Longley 2013 Singer, guitarist and songsmith James Hunter is always dependably excellent, both in the recording studio and when treading the boards of stages on both sides of the Atlantic. The only reservation might spring from the unchanging nature of his chosen format, although this new session does actually make some attempt to expand the band palette, as well as the scope of some numbers.