James Hunter fell in love with vintage R&B during his youth in England, with his grandmother's records providing a foundation. Hunter sang in workingman's clubs and got a break in the early '90s, when Van Morrison heard him singing and invited him on tour as a backing vocalist.
Singer-songwriter Kim Richey makes her fourth appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Richey first emerged in the early 1990s as part of the growing alt-country movement — and, as such, remained difficult to classify. Nevertheless, Richey's music didn't go unnoticed in Nashville: Many of her songs ended up recorded by mainstream heavyweights such as Trisha Yearwood and Brooks & Dunn.
Brad Paisley's Wheelhouse is yet another very good album from a singer, songwriter and guitarist who's made a bunch of them in a row. It features a slew of shrewd songs about finding pleasure and comfort in a frequently unpleasant, uncomfortable world. The music includes a bone-cracking song about domestic violence written from a woman's point of view, one that praises Christian values from the perspective of a jealous skeptic, and one that samples the great Roger Miller as deftly as any hip-hop production.