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Steve Hunter

Before the Lights Go Out

Review by Gary Hill

Steve Hunter's music always seems to create a middle ground between blues rock, fusion and progressive rock. This disc is no exception. All the tracks but the closer (well one other has non-lyrical vocals) are purely instrumental. There are several notable guests here, too. All in all, this is a cool album that covers a wide range of territory.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
On the Edge of Uncertainty
This comes in with a trippy kind of atmospheric element. The guitar brings a bluesy vibe to this. In a lot of ways this makes me think of Pink Floyd, but there are hints of Frank Zappa and Americana in the mix. Whatever you call it, this is such a cool jam. It feels grounded, but also oddly prog rock oriented, perhaps leaning toward modern King Crimson. This instrumental is meaty and classy.
Mojo Man
With Joe Satriani (guitar solo) and Erik Scott (bass) guesting on the tune, this is much more of a straight-ahead bluesy rocker. It's strong stuff, but not the proggiest thing here.  This is fierce and quite tasty.
Summer's Eve
A mellower cut, this comes in feeling very much like fusion. That sound carries through as the piece works onward. It turns out toward more blues rocking territory later in the cut.
Cinderblock
Blues and fusion merge with Americana on this killer cut.
Softtail Deuce
A motorcycle pulls up and gets shut off on the opening here. The cut works out from there to more of a blues rock jam. There is a lot of fusion in this thing, too. We get more motorcycle at the end.
Tienes Mi Corazón (You Have My Heart)
Trippy space music is the idea at the start of this cut. There is a bit of a bluesy acoustic guitar line at the intro that becomes more prominent. It rises to drive the piece forward. As it develops this gets involved and powerful in terms of its jamming. I really love the expressive guitar soloing on this piece.
Ice Storm
Coming in mellow and a bit tentative, this has a great sedate fusion vibe to it throughout. It does lean toward space music at times.
Under the Bodhi Tree
Andy Stoller provides bass on this cut, while Karen Hunter lends her non-lyrical ethereal vocals to the intro of it. There is a chanting along with nature at the beginning. Sitar sounds and trippy elements lend a mellow world music meets psychedelia vibe. After this spacey introduction it works out to more of a pure blues rock jam. This gets pretty intense with some definite fusion leanings later.
The Other Side of the Coin
Pure blues rocking sounds, this is the purely non-prog cut here. It's smoking hot, though.
Happy Trails
With just jazzy guitar and Karen Hunter's vocals, this old cowboy show song is reborn as a jazz fusion piece.
 
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