Van Hunt Live on KCRW – Eyes Like Pearls

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Van Hunt by Larry Hirshowitz

Morning Becomes Eclectic host Jason Bentley and Van Hunt by Larry Hirshowitz

Anyone who thinks of Van Hunt solely as a smooth R&B singer are in for a big surprise.

His newest songs fall somewhere between Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Iggy Pop and Sly and the Family Stone – funk grooves, punk guitar with dashes of prog rock and, of course, his ever soulful vocals (even when he’s howling). When I asked him about the connecting point between all these seemingly disparate influences he answered in two words: The Blues.

For those who are yet to explore the Blues, he recommended starting with Muddy Waters and then making your way through the entire Chess Records catalogue.  He also told me his life would have been very different — “much more bland” — had he not heard Thelonious Monk as a youngster, particularly the track “Round Midnight“. And if you wanted to know Van’s method of romancing a lady — musically — here it is:

“You don’t even need to have a song, you can just sit at a piano. As long as she thinks its heartfelt, I think you’ll at least have a good night. If not a good night kiss!”

Van Hunt is now a local, having relocated to LA 4 or 5 years ago, so I had to ask his favorite driving music. Without missing a beat he said Billie Holiday — “Lady Sings the Blues“.

Even though his genre shift from straight R&B to an amalgam of sounds has been a shock to some of his fans, he says the title of his new album “What Were You Hoping For?” was not addressing the issue.

He stands firmly in saying artists should lead the charge of creativity, not just creating what people expect, so go here take an audio adventure with Van Hunt!

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Van Hunt Live on KCRW Track List

Eyes Like Pearls

North Hollywood

A Time Machine is My New Girlfriend

Moving Targets

What Were You Hoping For?

Cross Dresser

Falls (Violet)

It’s a Mysterious Hustle

Watching You Go Crazy is Driving Me Insane

Van Hunt in a boxing pose by Larry Hirshowitz