With his last two albums, 2006’s Grammy-nominated People Gonna Talk and 2008’s The Hard Way, James Hunter delivered a classic yet perpetually modern brand of rhythm and blues that captivated listeners across generations and earned him two Billboard Blues #1′s, tours with Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Etta James, and Willie Nelson, performances on Leno, Letterman, and Conan, and critical raves everywhere from the NY Times to USA Today.
Minute By Minute, released in February, marks a pivotal movement in this unique artist’s career—not only because it arguably contains his best writing, singing, and playing to date, but because it signals James’ return to the studio following the loss of his wife Jacqueline, who died of cancer in October 2011.
It’s also the first album credited to The James Hunter Six. James made this change in recognition of the collective talent and unstinting loyalty shown by his longtime cohorts Lee Badau (baritone saxophone), Damian Hand (tenor saxophone), Jonathan Lee (drums), Jason Wilson (double bass), and Kyle Koehler and Andrew Kingslow sharing keyboard/piano duties. The Six have hung together through multiple albums and more than two decades of international touring, from small clubs to the Hollywood Bowl – developing a cohesion and intuitive knack for creating precisely the right arrangement and feel for James’ original songs.
And Minute By Minute is the first James Hunter album to be recorded in the US, and the first to be produced by Gabriel Roth, aka Bosco Mann Productions. Roth is co-founder of Daptone Records, America’s premier soul revival imprint. He earned a Grammy for his expert engineering on Amy Winehouse’s best–selling album Back to Black, and has also produced and/or engineered recordings by Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones & the Dap–Kings, the Budos Band, and Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, among others.
“It really does have a leaner and punchier sound than our previous albums,” Hunter says of Roth’s deft, unobtrusive touch on Minute by Minute, punctuating his remarks with characteristic raspy laughter. “I take the credit it for that,because I followed Gabe’s suggestions. I thought that was very intelligent of me!
“Without pouring any fancy ketchup on it, Gabe got this sound that we always thought we should have had.”
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