2009-09-02Singer, songwriter, piano player Kelley Hunt’s new release finds her mixing up the blues that were the bedrock of her prior three releases with gospel, blues, rock and heartfelt ballads. The disc starts out strong with the moody, atmospheric intro to "You Got to be the Vessel" which gives way to a mid-tempo gospel groove and then seamlessly shifts gears with the solid bass groove that propels the semi-spoken vocals of "Lone Star Road". Church is also in session with the big gospel delivery of "Mountain to Move". The big production number, "Freedom Day", has all the earmarks of a U2 cut with its intricate instrumentation, big vocals and build up to a majestic peak. The ballads "Love", "Mercy", "Drowning Man" and "You Can’t Fool Me Anymore" give Hunt a chance to showcase her lush vocals with the later of the four getting added heat from a tough sax solo and sounding as if it could have come from Angela Strehli or even Marcia Ball. Turning up the heat are the mambo tinged "Give Me A Sign" and the blues rock scorcher "Emerald City" which mixes references to Wizard of Oz characters with politics. Straight out blues and boogie make a welcome appearance on the funky "That Ain’t Love" and "Wig Chalet". With a voice equally comfortable belting out the blues or negotiating tender ballads with no instrumental cover to hide behind, Hunt is an easy listen no matter what musical muse strikes her. SMITTY
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