Though honored to contribute to the “Spotlight on Bluegrass” series for the KOTO blog – I must be honest. I am not a Bluegrass fan. But, I am a music fan and I am a sucker for great vocals. On assignment, and on an emergency 4am Montrose run to pick up coffee beans (long story), I cued up a couple dozen Phoebe Hunt songs and set to driving.
Phoebe Hunt’s voice is hauntingly good. I chose a few of my favorites and later read a bit about Phoebe’s story and how these songs came to be. "Pink and Blue" is off of Phoebe’s 2017 album Shanti’s Shadow – an album largely inspired and created while she and her band, The Gatherers, traveled and studied musical traditions in India. On Phoebe’s website, it states that “During the daily ten-hour meditations at the Vipassana center outside Kolhapur, the song’s mystical celestial images and lyrics continually sought refuge in her mind, when she was supposed to be clearing it of all thoughts.” The song is beautiful and full, and almost meditative to listen to. Phoebe’s vocals are soft and sweet, the fiddle playing is entrancing, and the percussion is a powerful piece in tying it all together. While listening to “Pink and Blue,” I forgot that I was even researching a bluegrass artist!
“One Trick Pony” is sexy. Phoebe brings the sass with this one, and I dare you to listen without catching yourself in a groove. This song is impressively off of her first release, her 2012 self-titled EP. “Sugar” is another one to listen to from this same album. Super string heavy, the sound brought me back to last year’s Mountainfilm when I stumbled upon a Ben Sollee performance at the Palm Theater before the viewing of “Bill Nye: Science Guy”. I later found out from a Rolling Stone article: “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: May 2017,” that Phoebe Hunt has played with Ben Sollee for years! Stringy, little world we live in.
If you’re going to Bluegrass this year, I encourage you to check out Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers. The most bluegrass-y song that I found and still really liked, was “I Got Love” off of her Live at the Cactus Café album. I envision the crowd dancing under the blazing sun with big ole goofy grins slapped across their faces, having – as bluegrass fans do – just the best time. She made my impromptu, early-dawn, coffee bean drive way more enjoyable, and I would bet that she could easily become a highlight of your Bluegrass weekend!
Roxann Vistocci, "DJ Roxology," with The Wildcard Show every other Thursday 9-midnight