(photo courtesy of Gari Askew & VanHunt.com)
So This is a new thing that I’m trying. I really did get the idea for this from Ebonne’s Page (What Up Eb!), but anyways here goes.
In my opinion, Van Hunt is one of the most underrated and undervalued artists of this decade. Those of you that listen to Michael Baisden during your evening commute have heard a song of his at least once or twice. He is quickly grouped into the Neo-Soul category but I think that, since Van doesn’t really just rely on old soul and he draws inspiration from soul and rock, he shouldn’t be grouped in this category. I first found out about Van Hunt back in late 2004 when they were showing his ‘Dust’ video on VH1 Soul. Since EMI wouldn’t let me embed it onto here, here’s the link to the video for that song on You Tube.
So I went out and purchased his first album, which was entitled Van Hunt and as I listened to it on the drive back home, the music reminded me of things that I heard back when I was little (Think early Prince). The way Van Hunt arranges his music is interesting to say the least. One minute you’ll be thinkin of some 70’s soul, the next, Van Hunt will throw some sick guitar riff in and you’ll be sittin there like “Did he really just do that?” All while still managing to make you feel the emotion in his lyrics. This is one of the few albums that I could actually listen to the entire way through without skipping tracks. It would definitely be hard for me to let you know what the best songs off of Van Hunt are seeing as how I like all 12 tracks, but the video for my favorite song off the album is below.
Down Here In Hell (With You)
Fast forward two years to me hearing that Van Hunt has a new album coming out. Of course I’m excited to see what he has in store this go ’round. While I’m in NY for the Puerto Rican Day Parade :), I swing past FYE and cop Van’s newest release which is entitled On The Jungle Floor. As I sit on the subway, headed back to Far Rock Queens, I open the CD and start looking at the photos and the album notes and lyrics. Seeing as how iPods don’t function as CD players, I had to wait an extended amount of time before I actually got a chance to listen to the album. To be completely honest, we chilled in NY, went to Connecticut, came back home and it unintentionally ended up taking 6 months for me to listen to the album. As I listen to this album, I notice that this album encompasses types of genres as the first, but Van’s trademark use of sick riffs and emotional lyrics still make it relatable to his first album. My favorite songs off of this release are (by track number):
2.) Hot Stage Lights
6.) Being A Girl
9.) Priest or Police
13.) At The End Of A Slow Dance
Here’s a live performance of “Hot Stage Lights” down in D.C. @ The Black Cat back on 10/28/07
Seeing as how, Van Hunt only performs at 21+ establishments when he comes to the Baltimore-DC area, I have yet to see him perform live. But best believe the next time he comes through, i’m definitely gonna try to cop tickets.
Back in September, I stumbled across a digital EP entitled The Popular Machine. It contained acoustic versions of two tracks off of On The Jungle Floor. Plus two unreleased tracks off of his upcoming release Popular. In December, Blue Note Records released a statement saying that they were not going to release Van’s 3rd album Popular, and that Van and the company would be parting ways.
Heres Van at the same previously mentioned venue performing “The Lowest 1 Of My Desires”
Random Thought of the Moment: “Damn, Sister Act just came on TV.”
The Song of the Moment: “Golden Boys” by Res