Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (August 4, 2015) — The Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, in partnership with Flying Saucer Presents, announces that British R&B and soul group The James Hunter Six will perform on Saturday, February 13, 2016. Tickets for The James Hunter Six will go on sale to the public this Friday, August 7 at 10 a.m.
James Hunter was born October 2, 1962 into a working–class family in Colchester, Essex. “It wasn’t quite like growing up with the blues in Alabama, but in my part of England, anywhere south of Watford would be considered Alabama,” Hunter notes. “In the States, you’ve got the Mason–Dixon Line and in England, we’ve got the Watford Gap.” Among James’ earliest musical influences was a collection of 78 r.p.m. records of Fifties rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm & blues given to him by his grandmother; and his older brother Perry Hunstman (James’ real surname), “the one responsible for me learning how to play a G chord.”
Hunter’s passion for the music of the Fifties and Sixties never waned as he toiled for seven years as a signal locking fitter in Colchester, tending to a Victorian–era safety feature found in signal boxes. In the early Nineties, Van Morrison caught James’ act at a gig in Wales and subsequently hired him as a backup singer for several years of touring and recording. James appeared on Morrison’s live album, A Night in San Francisco (1994), and on the studio set, Days Like This (1995). About Hunter, Morrison said, “He’s one of the best voices and best kept secrets in British R&B and soul.” But by 2003, James Hunter was 41 years old and without a record deal or a gig. His dreams of a career in music were fading. “I went through a particularly skint time,” he later told an interviewer. “I was forced to do laboring jobs through an agency. It was terrible. I discovered that busking was better.” Through a chance encounter with an American vacationing in London, busking later led to management and a record deal, and in 2006, GO Records/Rounder released People Gonna Talk, the first James Hunter album ever issued in the US. With its affectionate echoes of Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson, the disc became an airplay staple on some of the nation’s most influential radio stations. The Los Angeles Times praised James Hunter’s “extraordinary soul voice”; Rolling Stone called his album “a treat not to miss.” By the year’s end, People Gonna Talk was among the Top Ten “Best Albums of 2006” as cited by Mojo, USA Today and the WFUV listeners’ poll, to name a few. It was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional Blues Album and James himself was nominated as Best New/Emerging Artist in the annual Americana Music Awards. Hunter’s next album, The Hard Way (GO Records/Hear Music) earned even better accolades, with Rolling Stone calling it “unbelievably awesome” and the New York Times praising Hunter’s “tight, slithery groove” and “sweet growl.” The album featured a guest appearance by avowed Hunter fan Allen Toussaint, and like its predecessor reached #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart.
With his last two albums, People Gonna Talk and The Hard Way, 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, Conan, and Jools Holland and critical raves everywhere from the NY Times to USA Today. Hunter’s latest release, Minute By Minute, 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. Hunter 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), Kyle Koehler (organ), Jonathan Lee (drums), and Jason Wilson (double bass). 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. Minute By Minute is also 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.
Tickets for The James Hunter Six go on sale this Friday, August 7 at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available for purchase at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall and St. Augustine Amphitheatre Box Offices, ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets and by phone at (800) 745-3000.
SHOW: The James Hunter Six DATE: Saturday, February 13, 2016 TIME: Doors 7:00p.m. / Show 8:00p.m. TICKET PRICE: $45.00 – First 6 Rows