Steve Hunter: Before The Lights Go Out

As Seen On ClassicRockRadio.co.uk

Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews
Spotlight: Steve Hunter – Before The Lights Go Out (2017)
Label: DeaconRecords
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

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 is done for Steve Hunter by: Glass Onyon PR (www.glassonyonpr.com)

Steve Hunter: The Manhattan Blues Project

 

As Seen On ClassicRockRadio.co.uk
First Published: 17 June 2013
Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews
Spotlight: Steve Hunter – The Manhattan Blues Project (2013 Deacon Records)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

Steve Hunter - The Manhattan Blues Project - CD Wrap

The first Kickstarter program I pledged money. A new Steve Hunter solo project. It’s a story I’ll tell the rest of my life. And with wonderful results for its funded, meaning the artist succeeded in reaching the goal set, and now the CD is a reality. A guitarist rock fans have been listening to since the golden 1970’s. A man who helped make popular such names in music as Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, and Alice Cooper. A professional musician in every meaning of the word. Displays superior guitar skills with each and every song he participates on. One of Steve’s latest successes being the lead guitarist on Alice Cooper’s Nightmare 2 album. Then being ever so respectful, standing in for the deceased Glen Buxton when the Cooper’s were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Mr. Hunter, a sometimes independent artist, met his financial goal to put out this CD through a website I just previously mentioned, Kickstarter Dot Com. To all others thinking of getting a project funded, a lesson in how it’s done. Came to my house autographed with a signature that can actually be read. Packaging design is done very nicely. Good photos of Steve and I like the darker colors used in the cover wrap. Via Kickstarter and Steve’s official Facebook page, his wife Karen communicates with folks keeping everyone abreast as to everyday occurrences. The whole experience made it a pleasure to participate. The Hunters both come across online as very pleasant, and ever so professional. I personally could not be any happier to be a pledge participant. My first time backing an idea proposed on Kickstarter, and then it met and or exceeded its goal. I have witnessed proposed projects crash and burn. Will continue to keep open minded to participating again.

Steve Hunter has already participated on unique concept albums held in high esteem by fans and critics alike. And like all other past projects, The Manhattan Blues Project is consistent on the entertainment meter. Deeper than just the hit songs he participated on. The listener gets a more personal understanding of the man behind the guitar.

The topic of this CD is, of course, Manhattan. It is the smallest of the five boroughs that make up New York City. Madison Square Garden is located there. Having hung out in Manhattan (considered a county of New York State) as a teenager, I can tell you first hand that it’s an encyclopedia when it comes to music. Different bars/clubs all having different sounds. Big acts like The Rolling Stones used Manhattan / New York City as a backdrop for many of their songs. My introduction to rap was heard walking the streets of Manhattan. Young black guys on the street corners using rhythms to sell their drugs. I’d shake my head no and smile. Already had all the drugs I needed.

Each song on The Manhattan Blues Project is as unique as the location it’s named after. The CD starts off with typical outside street sounds. A nice instrumental mood piece that leads in wonderfully to one of the most bad ass songs I’ve heard in ages called; “222 w.23rd”. Do justice here and listen to this with a good pair of headphones. The song got a prominent lovemaking vibe. Music you imagine hearing in an erectile dysfunction TV commercial when the pill takes effect and it’s time to get busy. Maybe I’m the only one hearing this? And I’m not saying in any way, anything bad. The song inspires shagging. Has a definite sexiness to it. Includes interesting background noises, a vocal rap by Tommy Henriksen, some slide by Michael Lee Firkins, and Hunter’s wife Karen acing the background vocals. For Steve, Uncle G predicts a new greatest hit. Guaranteed repeat plays. It’s that good. And then draw a tub for you and a special friend. Let the music take you both away (wink wink).

At times throughout The Manhattan Blues Project, Mr. Hunter has some rather exceptional friends join in. One of my favorite bass players, Mr. Tony Levin appears on a couple of songs. One is a re-imagining of a Peter Gabriel hit song called “Solsbury Hill”. Ninety-eight percent is an instrumental with uncredited male background voices heard in somewhat harmony. Overall the guys did the classic rock song justice. An enjoyable track.

“The Brooklyn Shuffle” totally shines. A traditional blues sounding song with some outstanding guitar work by Steve and two other gentlemen: Johnny Depp and Joe Perry. Both offering meaty solos. Karen again outdoes herself on background vocals. Be fun to see this played in concert.

“Ground Zero” is a haunting, yet beautiful piece. Evokes emotion when listening to it. So many terrific days in Manhattan’s history and then you have that very dark one. Not a totally depressing tune, Hunter captures the right vibe. Each note and chord played, backed with feeling. A positive sign of a good blues guitarist.

“Twilight In Harlem” has this funky groove to it. Joining Steve on guitar duty are Joe Satriani and Marty Friedman. The song has a real band sound. Helping to make this so, on keyboards is Phil Aaberg, and on drums, Todd Chuba.

“Sunset In Central Park” is the last song on the CD. On bass again is Tony Levin and on cellos is 2Cellos. All the ingredients needed to close the CD on a fine note. Nice outro !!

Rating: A friend asked if I could be non-bias. Knew I have been a long time fan. An old Alice Cooper associate that Steve also knows would say assessing yours truly that I’m loyal and honest like a boy scout. To me that’s flattering. Using the one to five-star rating system I give Steve Hunter – The Manhattan Blues Project: 5 very solid stars. Well done Mr. Hunter. Well done indeed.

Steve Hunter – 222 W 23rd

Uncle G’s Helpful Weblinks

Official Steve Hunter Website: www.stevehunter.com 

Official Steve Hunter Twitter Page: @stevehunterguit