Interview with Robert J Hunter

Robert J Hunter is no stranger to being featured on this site as there is something about the way he blends an authentic blues sound with his soul filled vocals that never fails to impress me. As a fan, I have continuously shown my support via my social media sites and written reviews which have included ‘Introducing Robert J Hunter’ and ‘Before the Dawn’. Check these out as they also give you more information about this talented musician.

Now Robert is back with his brand new album ‘Where I’m From’ which has a slightly different feel compared to his previous works. It still has the captivating blues soul, but this release has more of a stripped back feel. I thought I would ask him about this and he was more than happy to give us an insight into how this album was put together. This is what he had to say:

‘Where I’m From’ has a much different feel to your previous work. Was this something you intended to do or did you go with the flow?

In a way it was intentional. As a musician and a writer I am constantly developing and changing. Some artists suppress it, I have chosen to embrace it. In my eyes there is no reason that every release can’t be different from the last. I am always writing and producing but sometimes there are ideas that aren’t always relevant to a full band format so I wanted to release a body of work that was applicable to my solo shows.

What were your goals before you started working on the new album?

I wanted to produce a record that was true to me. I see the recording process as a diary entry and a record of who I am at the time of recording. I have had a goal since ‘Blistering Soul’ to have ten releases before I turned 25. I have just turned 24 and with a combination of solo work and the two releases with Twelve Ton Trouble I have achieved that, ‘Where I’m From’ is the tenth. It’s a goal that means nothing to most people, but to me I am very proud.

What were the high & lows during the albums creation?

The studio can be as tough as it is rewarding. This was possibly one of the most fun releases I’ve worked on, but with every success there is stress.

The biggest high for me was that Rafael Pesce, founder of Spiritual Records wanted to release the album. His dedication and passion for music is so inspiring. Being a regular performer at the Spiritual Bar, for me it felt right and I am very lucky.

Can you remember how you felt when you first heard the final version of ‘Where I’m From’?

I am a live act through and through so I always struggle capturing my sound on record, I am never 100% happy but I guess that is a good thing. James Le Huray (the producer and Engineer of the record) and I tried a few different methods before settling on a finished product. I was both proud and sceptic of myself.

Do you have a favourite song from the release? If so, which one & why?

My favourite track is probably ‘Wonderful Life’, a song about trying to see what is good in life when it’s easy to focus on the lows.

I was very lucky to have Colleen Irven from Blue Mountains (Guernsey based duo who play beautifully haunting murder ballads) guest vocal on the track. I have always loved her voice and she is one of my favourite singers, so to have her feature on the album is an honour.

Apart from the promoting the album, what else do you have planned for the future?

We are actually in the studio again at the moment working on some new band material, so we are in full throttle with that. I will continue to gig relentlessly and enjoy doing what I do. I love being a musician.

I love the way that Robert talks about his music as you can hear the genuine passion he has for his craft. This can also be heard throughout his album ‘Where I’m From’ and this helps to give it a special quality. As soon as it begins you can hear the stripped back sound that is built around his vocal and guitar talents. It still has that wonderful bluesy vibe but this album also mixes in some Americana and folk. This combination is a win for me as it is the type of sound I get from my favourite musician Dave Van Ronk.

What I love about music like this is that its always accompanied by some wonderful stories which show off his lyrical talents. All of the eight tracks on ‘Where I’m From’ showcase this talent and to be honest, this is easily one of the major strengths to Robert’s songwriting ability. Listen to ‘Go Easy’ which is a really good example of this, so is ‘Growing Old’ which is also reminds us of the skills he has with a guitar.

My favourite song is ‘Wonderful Life, I don’t think I have heard a duet from Robert so this was new territory for me. The way he and Colleen Irven share the story with intertwining vocals sounds so good. I know there is other things going on in the track but the vocals compel me to listen to them and them only.

‘Where I’m From’ is a wonderfully crafted album with its blend of soul and rootsy blues. If the music does not grab your attention then I’m confident the vocals on offer will win you over. Head over to Spotify to listen to the album in full or listen to the songs I have added throughout this review. If you agree with me and you need this album in your collection then grab a copy from iTunes or Amazon. If you want to listen to the previous releases of Robert J Hunter then head over to his Bandcamp page by clicking HERE.

Robert did say there is more new music in the pipeline and obviously, I am happy to hear this as I always want to hear more as any fan should. I love how he never stops when it comes to his art, it shows how much it means to him. You can expect to hear more about this album as well gig information from his social media sites at Facebook and Twitter. This information and more can also be found at RobertJHunter.co.uk.

I always show my support to the music that matters to me by spreading the word on my site as well as my social media pages. If you are listening to what Robert J Hunter has created and you have become a fan then don’t forget to tell the world about him today.