In an era where hip-hop continues to bling-bling itself into rhetoric-fueled self-destruction and neo-soul's worship at the altar of Al Green and Donny Hathaway has become uninspired, it's refreshing to hear an African-American artist who pays homage to his musical inspirations but isn't afraid to break new ground. In the vein of Prince -- well, when Prince mattered -- Atlanta singer-songwriter Van Hunt draws from the soul, funk, and rock hybrids of the Purple One, as well as Curtis Mayfield and Sly Stone, on his eponymous debut. But what really makes Van Hunt a standout among his peers is his quirky, angst-filled lyrics. On the new wavetinged "Dust," highlighted by a stripped-down synth, drum, and bass arrangement and ska guitar riffs, he sings, "I'm already insane / I'm already in pain." But what do you expect from a guy who proclaims his father was a "part-time painter and pimp" who faked mental illness to escape life's daily grind? He quickly shifts gears, letting his mellow tenor shine through on the bluesy and by comparison euphoric "Seconds of Pleasure." But for Van Hunt, pleasure can only be followed closely by pain, and the twisted love song "Down Here in Hell (With You)" finds the sadistic lover man asking, "What would I do if we were perfect? / Where would I go for disappointment? / Words without hate would leave me with nothing else to say." By walking a lyrical tightrope between the bitter and the sweet, Van Hunt entangles listeners in his fascinating musical tapestry. Contemporary soul rarely hurts this good.
Performance CreditsVan Hunt Primary Artist,Vocals
Ray Brown Trumpet
Lenny Castro Percussion
Matt Chamberlain Drums
Dionne Farris Background Vocals
Paul Franklin Pedal Steel Guitar
Terry McMillan Harmonica
Wendy Melvoin Rhythm Guitar
Kevin Ricard Percussion
Darryl Richards Alto Saxophone
Nolan Andrew Smith Trumpet
Amy White Background Vocals
Larry James Bass,Percussion
Creed Background Vocals
Ta-Ta Background Vocals
Isaac Curtis Trombone
Jermaine Rand Acoustic Guitar
Annie Stela Background Vocals
Technical CreditsDavid Campbell String Arrangements
Andrew Slater Producer,Executive Producer
Howard Willing Producer,Engineer
Chris James Engineer
Randy Jackson Executive Producer
Bill Molina Engineer
Van Hunt Arranger,Composer,Producer,Executive Producer,Instrumentation
Melissa Mattey Engineer
Kevin Guarnieri Engineer
Tait Hawes Art Direction
Curtis Whitehead Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Van Hunt based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
They got skillz they played before Goapele at the concert i went to
I'M FROM THE OLD SCHOOL! REMINDS ME OF THE 60'S & 70'S. SMOOTH AND REFRESHING.
This young man's originality reminds me of the masters i.e. Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone and Prince. He has great lyrics, real instrumentation and soul soothing emotional lyrics. Now Van Hunt can show fire in his vocal range with the best of them as well! His guitar riffs are sexy,smokey,blazing and down right psychedelic-( Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn's weeping bluesy guitar riffs come to mind.)
This album is top notch front to back. And I just found out the man was nominated for a Grammy. This man needs to come out with another album to prove he's got more up his sleeve. Anyone looking for a solid piece of music, pick this up. Dust, What Can I Say, Hello, Goodbye, and Seconds of Pleasure will grab you easily. And for you big time overblown romantics, Precious will take you to new heights.
I am utterly speachless. Van Hunt is amazing. When I first heard him on the radio I was thinking there is no way the entire cd is as good as seconds of pleasure. I was wrong utterly wrong. This is a wonderful cd. Wow that's all I can say.
Music has become so homegenized and it is rare to come across a musician who so effortlessly captures the complexity, melancholy and joy interwoven in all of our relationships and life experiences. He is truly a breath of fresh air and I can not say enough about this cd. Soul music and especially R&B has not sounded this good in a long time.