The Hunts Live at The McKinney Performing Arts Center: Amazing!

5280Last month I had the immense joy of seeing The Hunts live at the McKinney Performing Arts Center. This was a phenomenal concert, and one of the best evenings I’ve ever had!

The Hunts are seven siblings that comprise a fabulous Alternative-Folk band from Chesapeake, Virginia. Their music style is influenced by a mix of their mother’s classical violin lessons, their father’s taste in 70’s/80’s music and self-taught guitar skills, and all seven’s varying music preferences. This, and a lyric inspiring childhood, creates the beautiful, rock out, from the heart, and completely original take on music that The Hunts play.

We sat down in McKinney’s historic Colin County courthouse and waited for the show to begin. The lights dimmed as a piano and electric guitar began to slowly introduce the room to “Illuminate“. With Josh’s raw and honest way of singing, their music’s soul-stirring orchestration, and some of the most heartfelt and profound lyrics I have ever heard, it was amazing to see this song performed live.5456

Their ceaseless joy and unity onstage showed throughout their concert, but it was at its sweetest during “Valentina“: a lovely song written about a girl they met while hosting a summer music camp for children in Haiti. I knew that this was Josh Hunt’s favorite at the time from him telling me in our interview, and it showed as his face became far more animated for that song. Seeing their happy faces light up thinking about her made it impossible for the audience to not smile.5278

The same joy and unity can be said about “Lifting The Sea“. Jenni explained how they wrote it about their dreams to travel and how through their music they’ve been able to do so. It was something of a sweet comradery as all of them, dreamy-eyed, harmonized the story of their wanderlust and dreams come true. I had chills it was so wonderful.5330#2

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From their cheeky sibling banter to even drumming on the dining room chair, seeing how much fun The Hunts had during their concert made the show that much more enjoyable! I loved hearing Jordan sing “Next To Me” partly because it’s so fun and happy I wish this could be the soundtrack to my life, and partly because of Josh pointing out that the seven of them whistling in this song reminded him of the seven dwarfs. This spurred on a question of which dwarf he’d be, to that one of them replied with a mischievous “Choose wisely”.  😀5507

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The sisters Jessi and Jenni took the stage to croon a more-than-lovely cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can Help Falling In Love” dedicated to Jessi’s at the time fiancé, now husband. These girls have the prettiest voices! Their breathtaking timbres and glorious harmonies make my soul faint! *sigh* It was adorable seeing their sweet smiles and knowing glances to each other throughout the song. 5503

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I thought the night couldn’t get any better than what I had experienced so far. Oh how wrong was I! What came soon after but the amazement that is “Above the Storm” composed by Jonathan Hunt. Its awe-striking orchestration, building crescendos, and awakening harmonies pulsed the room with adrenaline. It soon flowed into a cheery and rhythmic melody, that gracefully melted into a heavy minor chorded piano solo rather akin to Hoizer. This song is epic bliss to say the very least.5815

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After that gloriousness my night continued to be wonderful with an emotion-filled performance of “Douse The Flame“. Its stunning violins and passionate lyrics of how dear their past is pulled at my heart! “…Still adventure seems to storm our very bones! We were young, but I’ll remember the clouds stampeding as my heart was overthrown!…” It was beautiful!5564

I was like a small child by the end of the night with my enthrallment and joy of each coming song. Especially so when they played the one song I had to watch and not take notes on; the one I wanted to enjoy (and shout the words to the top of my lungs). None other than, “Make This Leap”. This song is so extraordinarily better live! Being able to see the dance of music before me is something that you’ll have to see live to understand. *sighs* It was perfect!5693

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With a final performance of “Ages” I was thrilled. They totally rocked this country-style anthem with their building cries and stamping feet. I was overwhelmed with amazement! And can I say seeing Jessi rock out strumming on a banjo, was awesome! Their ending harmonies were heavenly to behold and it flawlessly caped off my evening.5902

I was in an elated state at the end of this concert, but that skyrocketed when we were able to get not just an encore song, but the best performance of “Folsom Prison Blues” I have ever heard in my life! With Jenni’s hot country vocals, Jonathan’s killer piano solo, and Jessi’s fiddling making strings of her bow, it was spectacular! I must say, I no longer feel this song is complete without a mandolin, but I don’t think anyone can fill that role for this song better than Jamison Hunt.

To top off this gloriousness the siblings called onstage their guitar-god of a father, Mr. Clint Hunt! This man has learned to play guitar by ear, and he is one of the best guitarists I have ever seen live, and I’ve seen many excellent guitarists before! (Can I learn how to play guitar like him?) It was a gorgeous moment, and one that Johnny Cash would certainly be proud of!5941

This show was an absolute gift! I had an amazing time and my one complaint about their show is that it had to end! The Hunts’ wisdom and emotion is astonishing, and their extreme passion and love for music inspires me greatly. The best part is how humble The Hunts are. Something Jenni said while thanking the audience for coming out really showed their humility, “We’re just seven kids from Virginia who play music“, and I love how after I can run out of words to describe their *pick a word that means really good, and place here*-ness, they are so down to earth and some of the kindest people you’ll meet. You will not be disappointed at their concert. GO SEE THE HUNTS!

Thank you so much to Sandy, Clint, Jessi, Jenni Dowling, Josh, Jonathan, Jordan, Justin, and Jamison Hunt. I had a wonderful evening and I can’t wait until you all come back to Dallas!

You can find The Hunts on: Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and at thehuntsmusic.com. Click here for tour dates to see if this awesome band will be coming near you.

Many thanks to Sarah Forshaw of Forshaw Photography for letting me use your pictures from that night! All images in this post are hers. You can find Forshaw Photography on: Facebook and at sarahforshaw.wordpress.com

Happy Saturday! -Gems of Genres

 

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The Point of Music

Do you ever wonder what the point of music is? You cannot see, taste, smell, or touch music. It cannot provide nourishment, strength, shelter, light, warmth, protection, or any other fundamental necessity. So why is this intangible arrangement of sounds to a rhythm so loved by people on this earth?

In all continents, countries, and cultures music is there. Throughout the past music had its place: the ballads of medieval minstrels, sea shanties of pirates, fight songs of warriors, psalms of biblical times even! About every event in a person’s life has music: birthdays, funerals, sleepovers, prom nights, ballet recitals, road trips, all these things would have far less meaning without music. In most all religions and religious services music has its place there as well.

Clearly in human society music is important, but why is that? What is the point of this arrangement of sound?

I did some research to find out scientifically why music is so enjoyed. To summarize, I came to this: Music, when enjoyed, causes dopamine (the “happy hormone”) to be released into a part of our brain that deals with stimulation called the striatum. So basically music makes us happy because it stimulates part of our brain. Why does it stimulate? There must be more of an answer to the point of music than stimulation. I’ve never heard a musician say there main goal as an artist is to stimulate their fans brains, (honestly that sounds a really creepy). So what is the point of music? What is music’s purpose?

Music is

The point of music is connection. It is emotion. It is relationship. Music is a tool used by all peoples to simply communicate their feelings. Music is a universal language. If you played a minor and a major chord to a complete foreigner I can guarantee they could tell the difference in mood. Though every Gaelic lament I hear I know none of the words, but I still know it’s sad.

Music can express the deepest feelings and the most complicated emotions. Music can show the fiercest rage, the most blissful love, the harshest sorrow. Music is a thing of relating. If one cannot find the right words, odds are there’s a song that can help you express your meaning.

Music connects our mind with thoughts, our body with rhythm, and our souls with emotion. Music can join multiple souls together. Perhaps music is the sound our soul makes, but to know that I’d have to be God…(I’m not, in case you were wondering 😛 )

So that is the point of music, in my eyes. Do you see music differently? What are some songs that connect to you most?

I hope you all enjoyed this post. Have a happy and musical Thursday! -Gems of Genres

Go and See The Hunts DFW Concert! Plus Interview with Josh Hunt

All DFW Metroplex population and then some! Are you searching for an awesome concert to go to this month? If so, you have to go and see The Hunts live at Mckinney Performing Arts Center on September, 18th. (Click here for details)

“But I know nothing about this band,” you say? Well then, let me tell you! 🙂

Seven, multi-instrumentalists, with breathtaking harmonies, who are also siblings, The Hunts are a Virginia-based Alternative-Folk band. Their music is spirited and from the heart; always with a bright message. It is deep and wise, yet innocent and simple, and altogether beautiful.

The Hunts

I had the privilege of asking lead-singer and eldest brother Josh Hunt a few questions, via email, before they come to Texas for the show.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a musician?

A. My love for being a musician stems from my love for music. That sounds obvious, but it stands true. Above all the perks that I’ve experienced from being a musician, there is a genuine love and intrigue I have towards music.”

Q: How does being on tour with your siblings effect your relationships with each other, both positively and negatively?

B. Touring with my family is gratifying and a ways that we’ve created many of our fondest memories. Our relationships growing up have always existed in tight living spaces. For example, all seven of us shared a single bathroom throughout our childhood. We collectively understand that touring is possible through solid relationships that involve care and forgiveness.”

Q: What is the story behind the song “Make This Leap”? 

C. Make this leap is mostly inspired by our childhood. The sounds and many of the lyrics to this song and the rest of the album for that matter were written to capture the emotion behind our memories and adventures as children.”

Q: What is your favorite song to perform?

D. My favorite song to perform often varies… Last month it was “Douse The Flame”, a slower beautiful song that is also reminiscent of the effect of past years, and years gone by. This month it has been Valentina. Valentina (written about an orphan we met in Haiti) holds so much meaning. Experiencing the joy and courage of this girl has effected us significantly and recalling the experiences by playing Valentina is a pleasure.”

(In 2013, three years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, The Hunts along with a two cousins and a friend, went to “impact and bless the lives of children in impoverished and unfortunate conditions through music and teaching.” Their time spent is beautifully told in this video. )

Q: Is there a question you would like to be asked?

E. See C

Q: As a musician, is there anything specific you have, or would like to accomplish?

My goal as a musician is to be as genuine and true to myself throughout my career as I possibly can. Music shouldn’t be made in a factory. That often defeats the purpose and emotion of it. The Hunts style of writing and the effort and meaning we put into each song is something I’d like to maintain.” -Josh Hunt

I think that last answer truly shows the heart of this band. The one thing that makes me addicted to someone’s music is if you can feel it, and with The Hunts you most certainly can. Their music is true, and laced with meaning and emotion; the way music should be!

I really hope you all come out and see the Hunts live because their music is amazing! Purchase tickets to The Hunts Live at McKinney Performing Arts Center here. If you would like to see The Hunts in concert, but don’t live in the DFW area click here to see their tour dates.

You can find The Hunts on FacebookTwitter and at thehuntsmusic.com. If you want to here more of their awesome music give them a follow on Spotify.

Top 5 Songs I Never Get Tired Of

GG TOP 5

Do you have a song that you never get tired of? That you unashamedly “play to death”. And do you ever get happy when that song gets stuck in your head? Well I know I do. Here is a list of my Top 5 Songs I Never Get Tired Of:

 

#5: “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis Presley

Every time I hear this song I immediately feel cool, (And unashamedly do the twist to). This is by far my favorite song the The King did. Written in 1957 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, “Jailhouse Rock” was written for Presley’s third motion picture by the same name. “Jailhouse Rock” reached #1 on U.S. Billboard charts and stayed there for seven weeks! And in early ’58 it stayed at #1 for three weeks in UK charts. But this song’s popularity is no wonder considering its rocking beat and catchy tune, and of course its illustrative lyrics.

 

#4: “If The Gaff Don’t Let Us Down” by Skinny Lister

This hit by English Punk-Folk band Skinny Lister always makes me smile! It’s so happy! “If The Gaff Don’t Let Us Down” tells a beautiful story about sailing to one’s love. (This song is guaranteed to make every gal wish her lad had half this much class 😉 ) I love the happy melody and the great beat this song has. “If The Gaff Don’t Let Us Down” is from Skinny Lister’s awesome debut album “Forge and Flagon” check it out.

 

#3: “Love Me Or Leave Me” cover by Regina Spektor

This cover of “Love Me Or Leave Me” is from the Boardwalk Empire Vol. 3 Soundtrack. I can’t get over this song it’s so good! Spektor’s voice flawlessly portrays the frustration and desparity that waiting on someone to choose you can have. She perfects the 20’s Blues sound with her gentle yet pained voice. *Sighs* This woman should get some sort of award for this song!

“Love Me Or Leave Me” was originally written by Walter Donaldson and Gus Khan for the Broadway production of “Whoopee”, and sung by Ruth Etting. It has been recorded by over fifty artists in its years of existence, however (in my opinion), Regina Spektor’s cover is by far the best.

 

#4 “Precious” by JD McPherson

This song, it gets me every time. I would easily compare this song to a religious experience. Honestly if someone told me this was a hymn I wouldn’t doubt them. McPherson has done it again with this gorgeous piece from his latest album “Let The Good Times Roll“. If you can’t get through this song without at least chills, then you aren’t even human! Every time I hear this line:

“What does it mean when your blood vibrates? I thought it was a bad sign. There was a word I never tried to speak, now it’s a battle cry! It’s so precious, precious to me,…”

*Wipes tears away from eyes* For the first time I am rendered speechless. (And that doesn’t happen! One of my biggest problems in school was that I couldn’t summarize!) All I can say is listen to this song. It’s so beautiful!

 

#1 “Wild Woman” by Imelda May

My jam! From her latest album “Tribal“, Imelda May’s “Wild Woman” is the best song to rock out to. I mean full on rocking out: blaring the speakers, running through room, hair down, shouting at the top of your lungs, and air-guitar, complete with a dance routine. (Oh you think that’s the video? Haha, no that’s me while listening to this song! 😛 ) May wrote the song about how no matter how much you try in life to conform to society’s rules and responsibilities there is still that Wild Woman inside you, ready to burst out at any time! I think the reason I like this song so much is because I’m not a wild person, but this song provides the perfect opportunity to act as crazy as you like, (With curtains drawn of course!)

 

Even though these songs are in order, I still can’t say that one is better than the other. There all so good!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Do you have any songs that you never get tired of? Are any of these songs new favorites for you? If so please comment and let me know! Also drop a comment if there are any bands or musicians you’d like a review on.

 

Keep on Rockin’, Rollin’ and Jivin’!

Gems of Genres 😀

 

Grant Lee-Phillips: A Folksy Troubadour with many Stories

Grant Lee-Phillips

Singer-songwriter, Grant Lee Phillips has a way of telling stories you want to hear. His genre is Folk, edging towards Country, along with many Ballads. His sound is comparable to Van Morrison, Neil Young, The Head and Heart, and even an early Bob Dylan.

Phillips’ music puts you in a whirlwind of amazement. His smooth and smoky croon suddenly changes to a harmonizing falsetto, as the fiddle howls in tune with the twelve-string guitar’s rhythmic canter; The banjo twangs a plucky melody, while his story unfolds.

Even though Phillips has so much talent in his songwriting, the fact that he is a multi-instrumentalist, (Capable of playing guitar, bass, mandolin, synthesizer, and harmonica, for a short list), only adds to his envious skill.

Take a listen:

Mona Lisa” “Buried Treasure

One thing I love about his most recent album “Walking in the Green Corn” (2012), is glphow well incorporated his Muscogee heritage is. Many of the songs are based off Native legends and history, and how those stories continue to influence, and be of use in today’s life.

Take his song “The Straighten Outer” for example,

“…Hammer of the straighten outer, working overtime. And all the world’s a rattle snake; Waiting to unwind. And all the world needs setting straight, In his crooked mind…” Is a perfect example of how this world has problems needing to be faced and dealt with.

Or “Buffalo Hearts“, and its evocative image of the Trail of Tears, “…Remember the ones. Traveled so far. All that was lost on that walk…”

  “After becoming a father, I wanted to be able to answer all those questions I know I’ll be asked one day, when my daughter takes an interest in where we come from,” says Phillips about his heritage.

GrantLeePhillipsPhillips’ is such an amazing musician, he should play in film…In fact he has. Grant has been on soundtracks for various TV shows, including “Bones”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How I Met Your Mother”. He even was given a role in the hit comedy “Gilmore Girls” as the town Troubadour, and much of his music was used for the soundtrack as well.

Phillips tells stories that have meaning, and depth. The message you gain from his music simply is, move on from the bad things of the past, not forgetting but always learning from, and make what you can of life. Make it good.

I’ll leave you guys with this song, “Walking in the Green Corn“.

You can find Grant Lee Phillips on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and at grantleephillips.com You can purchase his albums, including “Walking in the Green Corn”, here.

I hope you all enjoyed this post and have a musical week. 😀

Happy Monday!

 

Let’s Get Stevie Ray Vaughan in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

Ladies and Gentlemen, it has come to my attention that the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan is qualified to be inducted the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. This year the Hall is letting fans vote for their favorite artist via online election. You can vote here.

Now out of all the candidates Vaughan is at the top of my list, because he’s too awesome not to be in the world-renown Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Vaughan’s style is a grooving mix of Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll, drawing inspiration from artists such as Albert King, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, and Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell. His music is passionate and soul-stirring. It makes you anticipate each note, each chord, each stellar lick; making you eager to hear more, (It may also make you un-unashamedly play air guitar).

Take a listen:

Pride and Joy”  “Texas Flood

Vaughan grew up in Oak Cliff, Texas, a rather sketchy side of Dallas. He started music even though many did not support him. At a young age Vaughan got into alcohol and then drug use.

In 1979 he formed the band “Double Trouble”. The bandstevie and guitar consisted of  Vaughan, bassist Tommy Shannon, Chris Layton on drums, and Reese Wynans on keys. On September, 28, 1986, while on a European tour with his band, Vaughan fell sick with near-death dehydration, caused by his drug and alcohol use. He was put into medical care that night. One doctor told him that he wouldn’t live a month, after that he put himself in rehabilitation for four weeks, and achieved sobriety.

“Left to my own devices, I would have killed myself. But now I know that I want to stay alive and I want to stay as healthy as possible, and grow in that way,” said Vaughan about his addiction.

srvVaughan went on to play with artists such as, B.B. King, David Bowie, Jackson Browne, ZZ Top, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck, among many others. He released five albums, two of which, “Couldn’t Stand the Weather”(1984) and “Soul to Soul” (1985), made it onto the Billboard 200 list.

After twenty-five years of amazing music, Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash August, 27, 1990.

In the words of Reverend Barry Bailey, Vaughan’s AA sponsor, “We’re here to thank God for this man’s life. He was a genius, a superstar, a musician’s musician. He captured the hearts of thousands and thousands of people. I am thankful for the impact of this man’s influence on thousands of people in getting his own life together in the name of God.”

His music has, and is continuing to inspire numerous musicians. He was a great man and a great musician, and I think he deserves to be in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. So if you would please vote for Stevie. You do not need an email to vote, and can vote daily. The election ends December 9th so get ’em in while you can.

For more information on Stevie Ray Vaughan, you can go to his website or Facebook page. You can purchase his music at Amazon and ITunes.

Keep on Rockin’ and have happy Saturday!  ♪