Date First Published: 1 November 2017 – Classic Rock Radio (UK)
Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews
Spotlight: Steve Hunter – Before The Lights Go Out (2017)
Written by: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
So I’m getting ready to do some typing centering around the subject of Steve Hunter’s newest studio album; Before The Lights Go Out. And how do I prepare, you ask? (cant do bold to show you on messenger but changed this wording) By listening to Alice Cooper’s – Welcome To My Nightmare (1975) of course. When doing write-ups/reviews, I research a lot before saying whatever it is I have to say on the subject. Alice’s first solo record, Welcome To My Nightmare, has always been one of my Alice Cooper (solo) favorites. His work with the Alice Cooper (band) beforehand primed the fanbase to the max. Surprising I never burned out on ‘The Coop’. Remaining a valid act all this time, Alice continues to record and tour. Doing his own thing as usual, and fronting the super popular Hollywood Vampires. That band simply kicks ass! Add to all this, Alice is back working with original band members: Micheal Bruce_Dennis Dunaway_Neal Smith. They made appearances on Alice’s last record, which was produced by Bob Ezrin; Paranormal (2016). The music Alice has done after departing Alice Cooper (original band) is highly worthy of induction into the RnRHoF (Ohio). Alice Cooper (the band) was inducted back in 2011. Steve Hunter kindly stood in for Glen Buxton (RIP). Alice deserves it on his own merits as a solo artist as well. And while still focused on the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Steve Hunter comes to mind. I ask myself:
“Self, several musicians Steve has backed since his involvement in professional music have been bestowed this honor. Why not Steve?”
I contemplated this. In my opinion, which is what I’m here doing btw, and please forgive the rant, but frankly, Steve Hunter, the accomplished musician that he is, should have been publicly acknowledged by those in Cleveland, bookoo years ago. You’d think, if not hope at least … before the lights go out.
I had the honor or being able to write about Steve Hunter before. In one story that I authored for the Classic Rock Radio (UK) Facebook Page a couple/few years back, Steve played along with whatever I was doing, and gave me a quote to include. I was so proud of that, and still am. A highly talented guitarist, who played with the likes of Lou Reed (RIP), Tracy Chapman, and Peter Gabriel, just to name a few. Experience and ability that enables Steve to play whatever style is called for on the guitar, and who does so exhibiting a creativity and style that is uniquely his own.
“Uncle G” discusses Steve Hunter – Before The Lights Go Out (2017 DeaconRecords)
Steve Hunter’s ‘Before The Lights Go Out’ is mostly an instrumental effort except for occasionally hearing Steve’s wife Karen beautiful voice. The album’s guitar heavy, as it should be. Electric and softer tones. Overall the new album has a more mature, seasoned approach if compared to the solo work of other ‘rock’ guitarist out there. Nothing that would offend anyone’s ears. Play it around babies, or old folks. It sometimes boogies, and then also play melodies that only someone who studied the instrument for decades, would only know how to play. And performed comfortably. Like the guitar (and over the years other string instruments; mandolin) was an extension of his physical body. Think the guitar Gods; Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, Steve Howe … just to name a few, and expect the same caliber performance from Steve Hunter. Time and time again.
If you like listening to the kind of electric guitar playing, that works its way into your veins while under its spell, then the first track will certainly hook you in as it did me: On The Edge Of Uncertainty. This is what led off the early promo for this album. Steve’s an indie artist, btw. A family affair, Karen (Steve’s wife) is behind the video to this super infectious song. I fell into this track and still have not come up. A new Steve Hunter greatest hit. The audio and video addressing the subject of Steve losing his sight and becoming legally blind; pigmentary glaucoma. Without words, except for the name of the track; On the Edge Of Uncertainty.
Track two, Mojo Man, smokes as much as track one. Another example of a highly skilled musician applying his trade. Joining Mr. Hunter on Mojo Man are guest players Joe Satriani, and Erik Scott. Crank UP the volume and deal with the police later.
Track three is a pretty mellow number; Summer’s Eve. The product was recently given BEST AWARD for ‘down there’. I am not sure exactly by whom. Saw it mentioned on their website. Nice to be appreciated. I would personally agree. Seeing how the opportunity has arisen, I’d like to go on record as a fan of clean and healthy vaginas’. To offer my sincere thanks to everyone who works for Summer’s Eve, past and present. In a way doing the Lord’s work, but without coming out and saying it. Plus Summer’s Eve is all into profit, as any company who desires to stay in business, should be. So no religious overtones. A wonderful line of feminine hygiene products. My personal gratitude, not in song as Steve seemed to do here, but more a public acknowledgment/shout out.
I love track four; Cinderblock. For some reason, I get visions of the backwoods when hearing this. Nothing bad. Someone else hears it, and whatever visions it produces, odds are it’s completely something else. One of many things I dig about instrumental music is that the mind can wander free while interpreting the sound waves heard. Accounts on the listener, but with some, the mind’s eye can sometimes produce scenes like they were straight out of a movie. The brain is rightly stimulated, both music and images blending together to help craft a tale. But nothing like the nightmarish Burt Reynolds movie Deliverance (1972). Even if this song does have a banjo in it (insert smiley face).
Track five is a music video I can see in my mind’s eye. Starts off with a sound of a motorcycle pulling up to a biker bar. Somewhere here in Colorado. On stage, it’s Steve and his band. ‘Softball Deuce’ is the name of the song. As it plays throughout I can see everyone in the bar having a good time. Songs over … the mysterious biker drives away, again with us hearing the sound of a motorcycle.
Next on ‘Before The Lights Go Out’ is an instrumental that’s dedicated to Steve’s wife and called; Tienes Mi Corazón (You Have My Heart). Not a hard rocker. Spanish influenced, and simply beautiful.
Track seven is a lovely tune entitled; Ice Storm. On the quiet side. Thoughts bounce around when hearing with headphones. Wish I stuck with it as a teen and learned to play guitar. Steve’s playing would inspire. Of course, his rockin’ side, but also those quieter moments, as exhibited on this composition.
‘Under The Bodhi Tree’ is kind of Led Zeppelin-ish. Great track! Seriously heavy in places! Helping Steve on the bass is, Andy Stoller. If I had to pick a favorite off ‘Before The Lights Go Out’ … ‘Under The Bodhi Tree’ would be one out of the ten songs that I would have chosen. The other nine would all be contenders as well.
‘The Other Side Of The Coin’ is a pleasant tune from start to finish. Could not be followed by anything better; Happy Trails (Rogers_Evans_Rogers). All songs that appear on Steve Hunter – Before The Lights go Out are written by Steve Hunter, except of course the last; Happy Trails. Karen’s vocals are so right for this country western song of yesterday. Indeed, till we meet again.
“Uncle G” RATES … Steve Hunter – Before The Lights Go Out (2017 DeaconRecords)
Using a one to five-star rating star rating system in which one star back in the day would mean destined for the nearest department store dollar bargain bin, to five stars which would mean it’s the cat’s pajamas … yours truly gives Steve Hunter – Before The Lights Go Out … 5 stars! MR. Hunter is one to keep abreast on. Check out his website and social media accounts. And if financially possible, try to support independent artists like Steve … please buy their products. So to help keep the wheels greased. Motivates and supports future releases. In the case of Steve Hunter, well worth the expense. In my opinion, there isn’t an album that has Steve Hunter’s name on it, that isn’t worth buying. Feel free to add this newest one to the list.
OH … the recording has an excellent sound to it. Rich, deep, textured just right. With good headphones, listening to the whole album is indeed a pleasure.
And I really dig the look of the CD itself. Credited to Karen Hunter/Disc Makers.
Uncle G’s Helpful Web Addresses
Official Steve Hunter Website: www.stevehunter.com
Promotion: Glass Onyon PR (www.glassonyonpr.com)