With Mott the Hoople, guitarist/vocalist Ian Hunter established himself as one of the toughest and most inventive hard rock songwriters of the early '70s, setting the stage for punk rock with his edgy, intelligent songs. As a solo artist, Hunter never attained the commercial heights of Mott the Hoople, but he cultivated a dedicated cult following.
The third installment of the Groundtruther trilogy sees Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte inviting John Medeski to be the third wheel. With both Hunter and Medeski on board, one could be forgiven for thinking this was going to be a funky good time, but Groundtruther is about pure spontaneous improvisation and totally unconcerned with getting people out on the dancefloor. There are two discs: Above Sea Level is the electrified set and Below Sea Level is the acoustic set. The electric set has Medeski playing his full array of vintage keyboards (including some really nice Mellotron) with Previte playing a hybrid electric/acoustic drum kit and electronics and Hunter using a near lethal amount of distortion. Medeski and Hunter compete for wicked tones, and with Previte's knack for triggered samples, it can be difficult to figure out who's doing what at times.
It’s been almost a decade since Casey Crescenzo brought The Dear Hunter – both the band and the character of the same name - to life with his 2006 debut full-length, Act I: The Lake South, The River North. This record revealed Crescenzo’s incredibly inventive and ambitious musical flair, something which has been evolving ever since. The two albums which followed - 2007’s Act II: The Meaning Of, And All Things Regarding Ms. Leading and 2009’s Act III: Life And Death - cemented the artist as a maverick, idiosyncratic talent whose music, while fitting a modern aesthetic, was also from a bygone era. Act I/Act II: This is the story of a boy, from his creation to his untimely end; from the beautifully rapturous to the truly tragic…
In these undesirable economic times, it’s good that Charlie Hunter can get things done without a lot of fuss. He performed the music for his latest CD live in the studio sans aural enhancements, EQ or overdubs, recording straight to tape in an “almost mono” fashion, as he has described it, and mixing the music on the fly. He’s accompanied only by Scott Amendola on drums, rather than the quintet employed on Gentlemen, I Neglected to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid, his last group album. Both titles, of course, point to the difficulties creative musicians face in terms of keeping their enterprise going.