Voices at Large

Hunter's Energy & Nostalgia

03 JUL 08 DAVID VIENNA

James Hunter played the Troubadour on Tuesday night and rocked through a sizeable set, including cuts from his recent Hear Music release The Hard Way. As evidenced by the many dancers and bobbers in the packed house, his style proved infectiously danceable.

Even I couldn't help sway to the dulcet rhythm of tracks like "Hand It Over." And I don't dance.

Hunter is a notorious jokester (he signed an album for me using a little child's handwriting, all unsteady and uneven). That translates into being quite the showman on stage. During one song, he rested his guitar on his foot and played it like a stand-up bass. When it came time for the closing guitar slide, he simply held his fingers on the neck and kicked his foot in the air, lifting the instrument to create the slide.

He faithfully captured the vintage sound on the album. Backed by a tight band that included a duo of sax players, Hunter wooed the crowd, sticking mostly to high-energy songs like "Jacqueline." He even tossed in a few songs from artists such as The 5 Royales and Lloyd Price.

Just like Concord staffer Julie Murray Porter said in her review of the show, The Hard Way gets a lot of play in my home. His live show conveys the same warm nostalgia on those tracks. Hunter is on tour right now, so check him out. If you can't make it to a show, you can see him in action on this video.

Jeff Lorber - Hacienda