The James Hunter Six – Tickets – Aladdin Theater – Portland, OR – March 10th, 2013

The James Hunter Six

The James Hunter Six

The Relatives

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Aladdin Theater

Portland, OR

$20.00 adv/$25.00 dos

Minors -21 permitted w/parent or legal guardian

The James Hunter Six
The James Hunter Six
Minute By Minute
With his last two albums, 2006’s Grammy-nominated People Gonna Talk and 2008’s
The Hard Way, James 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, Letterman, and Conan, and critical raves everywhere
from the NY Times to USA Today.
Minute By Minute, due out February 26, 2013 on GO Records/Fantasy, 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. James 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.
And Minute By Minute is 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 cofounder
of Daptone Records, America’s premier soul revival imprint. He earned a
Grammy for his expert engineering on Amy Winehouse’s best–selling album Back to
Black, and has also produced and/or engineered recordings by Lee Fields, Charles
Bradley, Sharon Jones & the Dap–Kings, the Budos Band, and Naomi Shelton & the
Gospel Queens, among others.
“It really does have a leaner and punchier sound than our previous albums,” Hunter
says of Roth’s deft, unobtrusive touch on Minute by Minute, punctuating his remarks
with characteristic raspy laughter. “I take the credit it for that, because I followed
Gabe’s suggestions. I thought that was very intelligent of me!
“Without pouring any fancy ketchup on it, Gabe got this sound that we always thought
we should have had.”
The Story So Far
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,” he 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.” (Perry later became an accomplished acoustic guitarist; he
performs regularly on the Midlands folk club circuit, playing in a traditional
fingerpicking style.)
James’ 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. The hours were more sociable; the
pay was better, and the crack addicts were far better company!”
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. Hunter toured extensively
behind it, both as a headliner and supporting the likes of Aretha Franklin, Etta James,
Willie Nelson, Van Morrison, Chris Isaak, Boz Scaggs and others
The Relatives
The Relatives
Call it Gospel Funk! In truth, the sound of The Relatives is so much more. Formed in 1970 by veteran Dallas Gospel singer Rev. Gean West and his brother Tommie, The Relatives' sound bridges the gap between traditional Gospel, Soul and Psychedelia. In the early 1970's, they recorded three obscure singles and a previously unreleased session—all of which are compiled on the acclaimed 2009 anthology, Don't Let Me Fall. The release of the anthology brought The Relatives back together as a band, planting the seeds for their 2013 Yep Roc release, The Electric Word, which was recorded and produced by Jim Eno of Spoon.

The Relatives are spawned from the same fervent Pentecostal tradition that begat Elder Utah Smith. In the 1950's and 60's, the West family were Dallas Gospel royalty and often hosted traveling musicians including a young Aretha Franklin, The Staple Singers, Lou Rawls, and O.V. Wright. Rev. Tommie recalls climbing a tree to watch Soul Stirrer Sam Cooke play guitar and sing on their front porch. When Rev. Gean returned home from 1970 tour, a young Tommie had written a song in a new voice influenced as much by traditional Gospel quartets as it was James Brown and Hendrix. "Speak to Me (What's Wrong With America?)" marked the beginning of The Relatives and a new musical direction, dubbed the "Street Sound" by Rev. Gean. The group quickly realized that their contemporary sound would get them bookings in nightclubs as well as churches. As Rev. Gean says, "If the people won't come to church, we'll bring church to the people."

The Relatives spent the 1970's touring nationwide and pressing small batches of 45 rpm singles that did well regionally, but never made a splash outside of North Texas. Known for their powerful original songs and searing stage show, their reputation survived the 1970's, but the group did not, recording their final session with legendary engineer Phil York in 1975 and disbanding in 1980. Rev. Tommie founded his No Walls Ministries, while Rev. Gean continued to manage touring Gospel artists, founded his own church and hosted a popular radio show on Dallas' KKDA, "Soul 73 AM." With only a cracked copy of The Relatives' "Don't Let Me Fall" single to go on, Heavy Light Records located Rev. Gean in 2009 and began the process of reissuing The Relatives' vintage recordings. Rev. Gean calls The Relatives' rediscovery and resurgence, "nothing short of a miracle."

After a stunning, sold-out 2009 reunion performance at the Continental Club in Austin, The Relatives began performing regularly again, barnstorming major festivals and venues worldwide, taking their incredible stage show and four-part harmony to Lincoln Center, ACL Fest, Bonnaroo and Splendour in the Grass. Summer 2011 found the group in southern France, where they appeared at the Cognac Blues Passions festival, collaborating with a 30-member French community choir for an impassioned performance of Relatives originals. 2011 also saw The Relatives combine forces with Garage/Soul powerhouse Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears to record "You Been Lyin," which appears on the BJL album, Scandalous. Their Austin City Limits TV taping with Black Joe Lewis has been called "one of the best we've ever seen" by longtime ACL staff and fans.

Picking up BJL's drummer and guitarist/musical director as full-time members, The Relatives cut the The Electric Word, their first recording in over 30 years in the summer of 2012. Still helmed by the West brothers, The Relatives' current incarnation is the most powerful generation of this musical family to date.

"The Relatives are the heroes America needs, even if we don't deserve them."
- Dean Blackwood, Revenant Records