Gerry Hundt’s newest release is like good moonshine: it may not have the polish or consistency of commercial whiskey, but it’s delicious fun with a real kick to it.
On “Gerry Hundt’s Legendary One-Man-Band,” Hundt shows off his multi-instrumental chops as well as his deep knowledge of traditional blues and folk music. It’s impressive. Bear in mind as you listen that each track is a single live take where Hundt is playing all of the instruments. That includes drums, guitar (sometimes slide), and vocals, with occasional harmonica and kazoo.
More than half of the songs are originals, with a widely varied feel. There are instrumentals, like the bouncy “Market Morning Reel” and the dulcet solo guitar number “Sunset.” Others, like “Take It Outside,” are reminiscent of hokum: irreverent up-tempo fun. While much of the album features the finger-picking style and chord progressions typically associated with the Piedmont blues, there are also a few Delta style tunes, including “Broke Down.”
The originals are complemented by a selection of old traditionals, including Salty Dog, Freight Train and the spiritual medley I Shall Not Be Moved / I’ll Fly Away, which closes the album. They’re good choices and they fit right in here; on a first listen, you might have a hard time telling which songs Hundt wrote himself and which he dug up from the Smithsonian Folkways.
The album is made of live recordings*. That makes for some inconsistency in the mixes, but it’s effectively mastered in a way that makes all the tracks sound like they belong together. Hundt also eschews the popular contemporary technique of compressing the shit out of everything, instead mastering for “maximum dynamics.”
So with that in mind, crank up the stereo and pour yourself a shot of moonshine.
*Editor: This article originally stated the album was recorded over 5 years; in fact the one man band was developed over 5 years and the album was recorded in February and March of 2015.