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"I interviewed Kelley Hunt many years ago, for the 'old' Blueprint magazine on the release of her eponymously titled debut album, and quoted her as "a lady who plays piano in the two fisted style of the boogie masters, who writes songs that are fresh, valid and realistic in their appraisal of life, and who is capable of singing with a combination of power, tenderness, intensity and pathos that can one minute have you on your feet dancing, and the next be cutting to the depth of your soul. The lady's name is Kelley Hunt."
- Mick Rainsford BLUES IN BRITAIN
In some ways Roots R&B/Americana singer/songwriter/piano player/guitarist KELLEY HUNT is a rarity and a challenge to the music industry's penchant for easy artist definitions -- a woman who has muscled her way onto the scene on her own terms with an identity steeped in blues/roots/gospel traditions anda refreshing originality. She makes music with it's righteous roots intact that also crosses boundaries, has an open-minded, exploratory attitude and takes on social and political issues. Together with a commanding, passionate stage presence and superior vocal, keyboard and songwriting skills she has earned the respect of critics and fans across North America and Europe.
Born in Kansas City, Hunt’s love for her craft was ignited listening to early blues, R&B, roots rock, jazz and Gospel influences -- artists like Ruth Brown, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday, Ann Peebles, Ray Charles, Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin, Charles Brown, Wanda Jackson and a crossection of the New Orleans/St. Louis/KC piano traditions of Professor Longhair, Toots Washington, Johnnie Johnson and Kansas City masters Jay McShann and Mary Lou Williams among others. Before that came the sound of her mother singing jazz and blues - her first musical memories - and the influence of her New Orleans Gospel singer grandmother. Reminders of these very traditional influences are evident in Kelley’s live performances and recordings but the lyrics, soul and passion are all her own. Her career path so far has been a story of fierce independence, incredible will, unassailable cred as a blistering live performer and hard-won accomplishment. That narrative includes 1500+ performances with appearances on a long list of premier North American and International festival stages, six times on American Public Media's 'A Prairie Home Companion',150,000+ indie units sold on her own label and critical praise reflecting her conviction from the outset to make her path in the roots music world not just as a performer, but as a forward-thinking songwriter as well.
Hunt's world has not been short on substantive, impressive critical praise, including a fresh swell of kudos for the new generation of music first unveiled on her 2008 88 RECORDS release MERCY (EER0804, her 4th commercial release): "Kelley Hunt resides among those bluesy, soulful piano players who write great songs." "...the main attraction here is Hunt, whose rich, soulful voice is an instrument in and of itself, with a toughness that shines on cuts like "You Got To Be The Vessel." "Her piano playing and songwriting also function at the highest levels." "Emerald City" is a brilliant political statement…” -VINTAGE GUITAR. “… Her fourth release "MERCY" shifts the focus to her songwriting skills and immense voice." "...a superb live performer, immediately drawing you to the power of her music and her voice... " -ELMORE. "Surprises don't often crop up on the well-trodden blues circuit. So welcome Kelley Hunt. This Kansan is a full-blown phenomenon: Powerhouse singer, hardboogieing pianist, polished songwriter…” -MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE. “…the freshest slant on classic R&B you're likely to hear these days. She's a tough woman who makes a hip and burly sound." - WESTWORD Denver.for her
That praise continued with GRAVITY LOVES YOU (2011, EER1105): "...(GRAVITY LOVES YOU) sounds like her best yet - which is high praise considering the quality of her 2009 release, MERCY. Hunt's songwriting shines on powerful, moving compositions like 'Deep Old Love', 'This Fall', 'In the End' and the title cut. And she proves she can shine on the keyboard as well - with dynamic inspired playing throughout" -ST. LOUIS BEACON. "Kelley Hunt delivers the goods with a voice that grafts passionate blues to scorching soul - instantly endearing her to all within earshot, as her band surrounds her in a greasy funk that completes the package and brings you back for more. 'GRAVITY LOVES YOU' continues this tasty tradition and ups the ante once again" -Eric Thom BLUES REVUE, SING OUT!, MAVERICK, PENGUIN EGGS, ROOTS MUSIC CANADA. "...Hunt delivers her socially charged lyrics with a voice that's part powerful gospel yearning and part bawdy soul shouter..." -THE ONION Denver, CO. "Kansas City roots singer Kelley Hunt is equally impressive as a soulful, throaty vocalist and an aggressive, gospelly pianist. She showcases her songwriting prowess on the nicely nuanced GRAVITY LOVES YOU". -THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE. "Blues, R&B singer-songwriter and show-stopping boogie piano player" -OMAHA READER.
Kelley Hunt's new album, "THE BEAUTIFUL BONES" (2014, EER1406), her 6th release and 4th as co-producer and universally hailed by press, radio and fans as the best work of her career, offers a dozen superbly crafted songs that blend timeless music with a contemporary perspective drawing a bead on modern life with grace, humor and gravity through the earthy poetry of her lyrics.