Tom Hunter,
Here I Go Again
(FS, 2006)

Tom Hunter has soul. It's a word employed so often it's almost a cliche. But, with an artist like Hunter it's appropriate and reflects a wealth of experience that pours out in his powerful baritone and through his fingers as they dance along the keys of piano and organ.

Hunter's voice and playing may remind the listener of other more famous artists, but that's not to say he lacks his own virtue. He tickles the ivories with passion and uses his voice like another musical instrument.

He taught himself to play piano and says he discovered blues from a preacher's son. After honing his skills with gigs in New York and South Carolina and on the road with Bill Perry, Pete Kanaras and Little Sammy Davis, he found his way to Minneapolis. There he found gigs with Big John Dickerson and Blue Chamber and Big Bang. That got him the attention of Bernard Allison who hired him to record on Times are Changing and to tour with the band.

He produced his debut album Big Thunder and formed his own band in 1999.

This is his third album and includes two original pieces, the title track and "Nothing's for Free." The other 10 tracks are a pleasing mix of traditional blues and jazz.

Hunter does an inventive version of "Layin' in the Alley" that I really liked. He's equally impressive on classics like "Basin Street Blues" and his own "Nothing's for Free." Providing back up are Rob Stupka, drums; Keith Boyles, bass; Peter Vircks, saxophone, and Tonya Hughes, Nesey Davis and Latonius Earl, vocals.

by John R. Lindermuth
4 November 2006

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