New Album Due Early 2016 On Daptone Records
Daptone Records is proud to welcome James Hunter to the Daptone Family of artists. James is an accomplished rhythm and blues singer and songwriter who has earned an international following with a career built on solid, soulful live and studio performances. In today’s R&B world, littered with retro-soul cronies, ear-twisting melisma and hollow affectations, James has a voice that stands out not only for its natural beauty and grit, but for its honesty. His songwriting shares the masterful architecture and the inspired creativity of Smokey Robinson, each rhyme and rhythm crafted meticulously, somehow twisting familiar themes into unfamiliar new shapes. And though his voice is unmistakably his own, he delivers his songs with the kind of soulful abandon that often evokes Ray Charles and Otis Redding.
Hunter, who has supported the likes of Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Etta James, and Willie Nelson, emerged as a soul powerhouse in 2006 with People Gonna Talk, which hit #1 on the Billboard Blues chart, landed on year-end lists from Mojo to USA Today, and was nominated for a Grammy. His next album, The Hard Way, was another Billboard Blues #1, but it was 2013’s Minute by Minute, that brought James and his band, The James Hunter Six, to the states to team up with Daptone producer, Bosco Mann for the first time. Though it was released on GO Records through Fantasy, the Daptone staff was so impressed by the sessions that the vinyl rights were licensed by Daptone for exclusive distribution.
This past May, James and his band returned to the studio to cut what will be his first record as a Daptone artist, due early 2016. From the driving stompers to the bubbling rumbas, the record drips with the rawness and feeling that Daptone fans have become accustomed to, and cuts straight to the soul of the man who James Hunter fans have come to love. “It’s good to be associated with a record company that ‘gets’ us,” chimes James. Well, it’s good to be associated with you too, James. Now let’s make some hit records!
On September 7th, Daptone will release a 45 single, which will feature two hits from Minute by Minute, “If I Only Knew” b/w “Heartbreak.”
“The great thing about working with Gabe Roth is that he can get our tunes on tape exactly the way I heard them in my head when I was writing them. It’s a rare thing when a producer knows what you’re going for before you’ve told him. A good indication of this kind of empathy is he’ll dig a record out (and he’s got a few) and say, “You’ll like this,” and be right every time. He and I have both had our respective battles to make music that evokes the style and feel of the records that grabbed us and both have resisted the well-intentioned journalistic shorthand of terms like ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’ that sometimes greeted our efforts, as if antiquity was a plus point in itself. The fact is, some time ago, recording techniques changed in a way that enhanced some styles of playing but not others and then became THE method of no choice. Gabe once said he doesn’t want to make ‘old records,’ he wants to make good records and his definition of ‘good’ chimes with my own.” – James Hunter