GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer Van Hunt will celebrate the release of his new studio album – What Were You Hoping For? – with a U.S. headlining tour. Launching at Webster Hall’s The Studio in New York City on September 19th, the outing marks his first national tour since 2008. See below for itinerary.
Hunt toured widely in support of his first two albums – his 2004 self-titled full-length debut, which contained the GRAMMY-nominated single “Dust,” and the acclaimed follow-up, On The Jungle Floor – both as a headliner and with such diverse acts as Kanye West, Coldplay, The Roots, Mary J. Blige, Dave Matthews Band and Seal. In a live review, The Hollywood Reporter declared: “he is a star….oozing charisma and energy” while Variety observed: “An original with a firmly assimilated sense of history, Hunt goes the extra mile musically to prove he’s not another formulaic neo-soul songwriter and singer.”
Joining Hunt on the road will be band mates Ruth Price (drums), Peter Dyer (keyboards) and Douglas Showalter (guitar). Prior to the tour’s launch, Hunt will perform at the 21st Annual NAACP Theatre Awards Gala, which will take place on August 29th at Rolling Stone Lounge in Hollywood, CA.
What Were You Hoping For? – a collection of 11 challenging, densely layered compositions that reveal more with each listen – will be released on September 27th via a joint venture between the Nashville-based Thirty Tigers and Hunt’s own label, godless-hotspot. Van penned the songs in the summer of 2010, then produced and performed them at Los Angeles’ Santa Fe Tracking Station, bringing Ruthie Price in on drums. Along the way they enlisted keyboardist/programmer Peter Dyer to build what Hunt describes as “a landscape of sound around the songs.” This minimalist approach focuses the light on an unadulterated, unfiltered Van Hunt, delivering his most daring and provocative work to date, where intricate jazz melodies butt up against punk rock and poetry.
“I wanted this record to be disruptive,” says Hunt. “I feel like I’ve finally shed the music that I grew up with. I’ve made a record that doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard before.”
From the breakneck “Watching You Go Crazy Is Driving Me Insane” and “A Time Machine Is My New Girlfriend” to the metallic k.o. of the album’s first single, “Eyes Like Pearls,” Hunt unleashes a sound that reverberates with caustic wit, passion and frenetic, inventive musicality. The funky “North Hollywood” and the beguiling title track crackle with the dissonance of modern life in his new home town, where American dreamers navigate a path strewn with eviction notices, abandoned couches, skate rats and struggling starlets. A “Cross Dresser” finds he feels closer than ever to his ex when he dons the clothing she left behind and the tour de force closing track, “It’s A Mysterious Hustle,” offers up a warning and a promise: “You know the world’s no place to raise a child/You’ve been dropped into the wild/You’re here now and the clock is winding down/Let me show you how to work your way through the crowd.”
“All of these elements came together to create this combustion,” says Hunt, who was born in Ohio and relocated to Atlanta, where he began his music career. He moved to Los Angeles in 2007. Driving the city’s streets, he soon began photographing the abandoned objects he encountered and L.A.’s growing homeless population. “My experience of trying to live here and survive myself is really where this record was born.”
What Were You Hoping For? is Hunt’s fourth studio album. After the success of his first two albums and his GRAMMY win for “Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals,” honoring “Family Affair,” a collaboration with John Legend and Joss Stone found on the 2006 Sly & The Family Stone tribute album, Different Strokes For Different Folks, he recorded his third album, Popular. But the label he was signed to delayed its release, then dropped it from the schedule altogether. Online music sharing turned the still-unreleased album into an underground sensation, which the LA Weekly hailed as “a left-field stunner.” In 2009, Hunt liberated a collection of B-sides, demos, remixes, and other rarities on the self-released collection, Use In Case Of Emergency (Rare Items From The Vault).
Van recently gave fans two free downloads – tracks from the What Were You Hoping For? sessions that won’t appear on the final album. Pastemagazine.com premiered “The Savage, Sincere L of P,”noting: “His soulful vocals waltz over a backbeat that makes you wanna throw on your dancing shoes and cut the rug” while The Huffington Post debuted “June.” Free downloads of both songs are now available at Hunt’s recently relaunched website, www.vanhunt.com.
Van Hunt – Fall Tour Dates
9/19 New York, NY @Webster Hall Studio
9/20 Alexandria, VA @ The Birchmere
9/21 Brooklyn, NY @Southpaw
9/22 Philadelphia, PA @ World Café Live
9/23 Richmond, VA @ The Camel
9/24 Charlotte, NC @ Double Door Inn
9/25 Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindsley
9/27 Augusta, GA @ Sky City
9/28 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
9/29 New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina’s Uptown
9/30 Houston, TX @ Underground Live
10/1 Austin, TX @Cactus Café
10/3 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues Cambridge
10/4 Little Rock, AR @ Sticky Fingerz Chicken
10/6 St. Louis, MO @ Lola
10/7 Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern
10/8 Minneapolis, MN @ Bunker’s
10/11 Seattle, WA @ Nectar Lounge
10/12 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
10/13 San Francisco, CA @ Yoshi’s