Sperry Hunt & Friends CD Release
"As a child in Houston, my parents put me to bed with the radio on. It was the Golden Age of detective stories. When the sleuths packed their strapped leather suitcases and moved to television, my older brother, a terrific late 50s rock singer, introduced me to KYOK, Houstons fabulous rhythm & blues station. Night after night I listened to the greats: Ray Charles, Etta James, Fats Domino, and Freddy King. I loved music so much, but I couldnt imagine making any of it.
Then one night, when I was sixteen, I took Tami Fox to Houstons best folk club, Sand Mountain. The performer was a lanky young man with a crunched cowboy hat and a pearl-button work shirt. Townes Van Zandt was his name, and he sang beautiful, desolate songs about lost love and the people hed met on the rails and roads of Texas. The longing in his voice and the syncopation of the notes he picked on his guitar spoke to me directly.
For the next few years I lived through the thrills and ills of teenage friendships, romances, and road adventures across Texas, New Mexico and the cantinas of the Mexican border. I lost my girl to my best friend over the last summer of high school. At the end of August, he was killed in a boating accident, leaving the girl and me in a long and torturous downward spiral. (Listen to The Gulf of Mexico.) Everywhere I went in those days I bathed myself in the folk, blues, country, and border music of the local radio stations. I bought a guitar and tried to put a few of my stories into songs, but they never felt ready.
At twenty-three I married a beautiful, bright gypsy girl named Springer. Soon after, I began to sing covers and a few of my own songs in intimate Austin folk clubs like the Cactus Cafe. A year later we had a beautiful boy and took off for Marin County California, on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. I opened a small guitar store in Mill Valley called Hunt & Son Guitars. I taught songwriting for a year at the former Family Light Music School in Sausalito. I performed my own music in local clubs like Mill Valleys Sweetwater and Fairfaxs Sleeping Lady Cafe. I was unbelievably lucky to be the student and friend of master blues guitarist Michael Bloomfield. I wrote a book called Songwriting: How To Write Music and Lyrics that was published in Los Angeles where I ached to go. Springer agreed to live there for two years while I tried to become a successful songwriter. I wrote a number of good songs that came to me as the soundtracks of dreams. I recorded demos and performed them at small venues. I won a prize at the Len Chandler and John Brahenys L. A. Songwriters Showcase. Things were looking up for me. But it seemed I still had a long way to go to meet my goal, and my two years were up.
2011 was also the year I returned to Houston for a high school reunion where I reconnected with my friends. It was as though I had been living in darkness and someone switched on the lights. Reading between the lines in my friends faces as they told me their stories circled me back to who I really was. (Listen to Round Road Home and read the lyrics at the bottom of this page.)
Returning to Houston for a high school reunion in 2011, I began to have vivid dreams flooded with music and the few words I needed to stitch the jumble into songs. And not just songs, but story songs. It turned out that those years of screenwriting had prepared me that moment. I knew where the beats should be in the stories; how to show and not tell; the elegance of brevity; and how to use setting, gesture, metaphor, and symbolism to tell a compelling tale. The first songs were the stories of my old classmates. (Listen to The Last Light and Bueno the Roan.) I wrote a second batch later chronicling the difficulties of people I knew more recently. (Listen to Broken Not Beautiful, Door in the Dark, etc.) For sixteen months I played my songs in my own Sand Mountains: the clubs in and around Boise, Idaho where we live now. Recently I recorded eleven of the songs at Rainshadow Studio in Port Townsend, Washington. The result is the album named Story Songs."
- Sperry Hunt April, 2022
Fort Worden (View)
200 Battery Way
Port Townsend, WA 98368
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