Phoebe Hunt
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Phoebe Hunt

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter

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From Austin, Texas, to Eugene to Bear Valley, Calif., Phoebe Hunt is on her way to camp. Not some Salute Your Shorts summer getaway, but The Big Sur Fiddle Camp. Hunt is going to rule that camp, as she’s been playing the fiddle for over 22 years, starting with a Suzuki violin, and hearing her soulful Southern voice, you would think the singer-songwriter would have been singing for decades too.

“I always wanted to be a singer but I didn’t start singing until I was 20 years old,” Hunt tells EW. Hunt says it was all about confidence. “At first, I pushed it way too hard. I didn’t realize my voice was an instrument. The power of the voice as an instrument is really beautiful.”

Hunt came up through the Austin music community, which she describes as “folky,” playing with bands like The Hudsons and the Belleville Outfit. “There’s not a huge bluegrass and fiddle music scene in Austin,” she says. So she headed East to find one, ending up at North Carolina’s MerleFest (named in honor of Doc Watson’s son, Eddy Merle Watson, not country musician Merle Haggard).

“It opened my eyes to a whole different world of music,” she says, especially Appalachian fiddle tunes. She eventually settled in Nashville, where lived until returning to Austin this January. Hunt now mixes a more traditional bluegrass style with roots, jazz, big-band swing and hints of Ray Charles and Townes Van Zandt. Her self-titled 2012 EP, however, ranges from snappy on the honky-tonk “Sugar” to the more subdued, with songs like “Leaving Home” layering her earthy, sultry vocals over melancholic piano and violin.

She points out that the violin is the instrument that most closely resembles the human voice, and Hunt can make both howl, jump and weep.

Phoebe Hunt plays with pianist Connor Forsyth 7:30 pm Wednesday, April 10, at 755 River Rd., Eugene; $10-$15 door (cash only). Contact Mike Meyer at mmeyer@efn.org for details.
- Eugene Weekly


From Austin, Texas, to Eugene to Bear Valley, Calif., Phoebe Hunt is on her way to camp. Not some Salute Your Shorts summer getaway, but The Big Sur Fiddle Camp. Hunt is going to rule that camp, as she’s been playing the fiddle for over 22 years, starting with a Suzuki violin, and hearing her soulful Southern voice, you would think the singer-songwriter would have been singing for decades too.

“I always wanted to be a singer but I didn’t start singing until I was 20 years old,” Hunt tells EW. Hunt says it was all about confidence. “At first, I pushed it way too hard. I didn’t realize my voice was an instrument. The power of the voice as an instrument is really beautiful.”

Hunt came up through the Austin music community, which she describes as “folky,” playing with bands like The Hudsons and the Belleville Outfit. “There’s not a huge bluegrass and fiddle music scene in Austin,” she says. So she headed East to find one, ending up at North Carolina’s MerleFest (named in honor of Doc Watson’s son, Eddy Merle Watson, not country musician Merle Haggard).

“It opened my eyes to a whole different world of music,” she says, especially Appalachian fiddle tunes. She eventually settled in Nashville, where lived until returning to Austin this January. Hunt now mixes a more traditional bluegrass style with roots, jazz, big-band swing and hints of Ray Charles and Townes Van Zandt. Her self-titled 2012 EP, however, ranges from snappy on the honky-tonk “Sugar” to the more subdued, with songs like “Leaving Home” layering her earthy, sultry vocals over melancholic piano and violin.

She points out that the violin is the instrument that most closely resembles the human voice, and Hunt can make both howl, jump and weep.

Phoebe Hunt plays with pianist Connor Forsyth 7:30 pm Wednesday, April 10, at 755 River Rd., Eugene; $10-$15 door (cash only). Contact Mike Meyer at mmeyer@efn.org for details.
- Eugene Weekly


Singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Phoebe Hunt recently relocated from Nashville to the Big Apple, but before she did, the Americana-pop artist returned to her hometown of Austin to record her first full-length album, LIVE AT THE CACTUS CAFÉ. Releasing June 18, the album follows her self-titled 2012 EP, her solo debut.

Hunt celebrates the new release with an afternoon show at 12:45 p.m. Sunday, June 23, at Gruene Hall, 1281 Gruene Road, New Braunfels, and a return to the Cactus Cafe, 2247 Guadalupe St., Austin, at 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 28. A copy of the new CD will be included with each Cactus ticket ($15 in advance; $18 at the door). For Cactus tickets and info, call 512.475.6515 or click cactuscafe.org. For Gruene Hall info, call 830.629.5077 or click gruenehall.com.

The latest in a long line of artists to record at the iconic University of Texas listening room, Hunt showcases her world-class fiddling, rhythm guitar-playing and sultry voice — the main elements of her award-winning folk-pop sound — on 16 original songs performed with her band before an enthusiastic audience. From classic country tones to provocative jazz riffs, Hunt artfully navigates through many musical landscapes, landing at the heart of Americana. She can shift moods from playfully demure to seductive and intimate in the blink of a beat, but the quality that shines through most is her honesty.

Well-known for her work with the Belleville Outfit, Hunt also toured with folk trio The Hudsons while still attending the University of Texas at Austin. She stayed in her Austin hometown after graduation, and in 2012, headed to Nashville to polish her songwriting skills in-between touring with artists including world renowned cellist Ben Sollee singer-songwriter-keyboardist Connor Forsyth (the Belleville Outfit, Ghosts Along the Brazos) and folk-rocker Reed Turner.
- Music News Nashville


Phoebe Hunt’s excellent Live at the Cactus Café flits (“Fly On”) and flutters (“Take Me Home”) with relentless resolve. CMT Edge spoke with the former Belleville Outfit leader about songwriting, her Austin roots and recording her new solo album at the city’s most hallowed listening room, the Cactus Café.

“This was the first project where I decided to just do it and I did it without looking for a studio or a label or anyone else to help me out,” Hunt says. “I was like, ‘I want to do a live album.’ So, I booked the shows.”

CMT Edge: Did you settle on the Cactus right away?

Hunt: The original idea was to record four different live shows at four great listening venues in Texas and make it a Live in Texas album, especially since I was moving back to Texas from Nashville at the time. I thought this would be a perfect way to move back to Austin and do a recording in different rooms. We recorded shows at [Houston’s] Mucky Duck, one at the Bugle Boy [in La Grange] and at Main Street Crossing in Tomball, Texas, and we finished at the Cactus Café. That show was just magical and blew the other ones out of the water.

Describe the atmosphere the night you recorded.

Oh, it was just full of love. That’s the best way I can describe it. It was the hometown love, people from my childhood, people from my entire life, people from the Austin Montessori school from growing up all the way up to my current best friends. It captured my entire life span of being an Austin person. You’re looking around at this room full of glowing hearts, all wanting you to do the best you can. The band onstage, we were all ready because we had all these other rehearsal shows. The audience was ready for us to have a great show, too.

How essential was the Cactus in your development as a songwriter?

I got to see some incredible shows at the Cactus when I went to the University of Texas for college. Carrie Rodriguez played there with Chip Taylor recently, and I went to see that. It was incredible. There’s been this magical element in every show I’ve seen there, especially when the room is full. I mean, when the room is not full, it’s also special because it’s a legendary room. So many people have played on that stage, which has a lot of great energy on it. Townes Van Zandt played there weekly for however many years to whoever showed up. I think it’s impossible to say it hasn’t been a part of my songwriting because I am from Austin and it’s such an elemental room here in Texas.

Do you prefer writing alone or co-writing?

I like it all. Writing by myself is like giving myself time to really bring an idea to life. When I’m writing by myself, it’s like giving myself a blessing. So often, I end up filling up my calendar with other people. I have lots of projects going on and constantly keep myself busy. So giving myself the time to sit and finish an idea is a very sacred experience. I cherish the times I allow myself to spend with myself, if that makes sense.

I also love collaborating and getting other people’s creative juju into my creative process. Every time I create with someone else, it’s a completely different process. I feel like a chameleon when I walk into their world. Two people together each have their own chemistry, so I like to just see what happens. I really love thinking of life as a big experiment.

What did you take away from the Belleville Outfit as a songwriter?

As a songwriter, I think I really learned how to arrange when I was with the Belleville Outfit. We worked really well together on arrangement and that taught me to really ask the people around me for what I want to hear. Now when I’m working as a bandleader, I have more confidence and I’m able to ask people to play a certain part or do a certain thing. I think the training I got by being in the Belleville Outfit was huge in that.

Tell the story behind writing “Take Me Home.”

I wrote that song with Kelly [Mickwee] from the Trishas. I was living in Nashville and she came to town to visit. She was doing co-write sessions in Nashville every month. We just connected. She was staying at a boat house north of town, and I drove up about 45 minutes to go visit her and hang out in this cool boat house. She was feeling really homesick that visit and was on the phone with her husband missing him and wondering, “What am I doing, coming here to song write?”

I totally relate to that experience. What has brought me to this random nook in the world and why am I here rather than at home with people I know and doing things that are familiar? I’m in this completely random place in the world and for what? This career? This song? Why do I do all this? Just take me home. Hang out with me. Let me be comforted and know that you love me.

Are you back in Austin now? The release says you went to New York.

Yeah, the press release is interesting. I moved from Nashville back to Austin in January. I have a little attic nook here in South Austin, and I - CMT The Edge


Phoebe Hunt’s excellent Live at the Cactus Café flits (“Fly On”) and flutters (“Take Me Home”) with relentless resolve. CMT Edge spoke with the former Belleville Outfit leader about songwriting, her Austin roots and recording her new solo album at the city’s most hallowed listening room, the Cactus Café.

“This was the first project where I decided to just do it and I did it without looking for a studio or a label or anyone else to help me out,” Hunt says. “I was like, ‘I want to do a live album.’ So, I booked the shows.”

CMT Edge: Did you settle on the Cactus right away?

Hunt: The original idea was to record four different live shows at four great listening venues in Texas and make it a Live in Texas album, especially since I was moving back to Texas from Nashville at the time. I thought this would be a perfect way to move back to Austin and do a recording in different rooms. We recorded shows at [Houston’s] Mucky Duck, one at the Bugle Boy [in La Grange] and at Main Street Crossing in Tomball, Texas, and we finished at the Cactus Café. That show was just magical and blew the other ones out of the water.

Describe the atmosphere the night you recorded.

Oh, it was just full of love. That’s the best way I can describe it. It was the hometown love, people from my childhood, people from my entire life, people from the Austin Montessori school from growing up all the way up to my current best friends. It captured my entire life span of being an Austin person. You’re looking around at this room full of glowing hearts, all wanting you to do the best you can. The band onstage, we were all ready because we had all these other rehearsal shows. The audience was ready for us to have a great show, too.

How essential was the Cactus in your development as a songwriter?

I got to see some incredible shows at the Cactus when I went to the University of Texas for college. Carrie Rodriguez played there with Chip Taylor recently, and I went to see that. It was incredible. There’s been this magical element in every show I’ve seen there, especially when the room is full. I mean, when the room is not full, it’s also special because it’s a legendary room. So many people have played on that stage, which has a lot of great energy on it. Townes Van Zandt played there weekly for however many years to whoever showed up. I think it’s impossible to say it hasn’t been a part of my songwriting because I am from Austin and it’s such an elemental room here in Texas.

Do you prefer writing alone or co-writing?

I like it all. Writing by myself is like giving myself time to really bring an idea to life. When I’m writing by myself, it’s like giving myself a blessing. So often, I end up filling up my calendar with other people. I have lots of projects going on and constantly keep myself busy. So giving myself the time to sit and finish an idea is a very sacred experience. I cherish the times I allow myself to spend with myself, if that makes sense.

I also love collaborating and getting other people’s creative juju into my creative process. Every time I create with someone else, it’s a completely different process. I feel like a chameleon when I walk into their world. Two people together each have their own chemistry, so I like to just see what happens. I really love thinking of life as a big experiment.

What did you take away from the Belleville Outfit as a songwriter?

As a songwriter, I think I really learned how to arrange when I was with the Belleville Outfit. We worked really well together on arrangement and that taught me to really ask the people around me for what I want to hear. Now when I’m working as a bandleader, I have more confidence and I’m able to ask people to play a certain part or do a certain thing. I think the training I got by being in the Belleville Outfit was huge in that.

Tell the story behind writing “Take Me Home.”

I wrote that song with Kelly [Mickwee] from the Trishas. I was living in Nashville and she came to town to visit. She was doing co-write sessions in Nashville every month. We just connected. She was staying at a boat house north of town, and I drove up about 45 minutes to go visit her and hang out in this cool boat house. She was feeling really homesick that visit and was on the phone with her husband missing him and wondering, “What am I doing, coming here to song write?”

I totally relate to that experience. What has brought me to this random nook in the world and why am I here rather than at home with people I know and doing things that are familiar? I’m in this completely random place in the world and for what? This career? This song? Why do I do all this? Just take me home. Hang out with me. Let me be comforted and know that you love me.

Are you back in Austin now? The release says you went to New York.

Yeah, the press release is interesting. I moved from Nashville back to Austin in January. I have a little attic nook here in South Austin, and I - CMT The Edge


I’m pretty sure Phoebe Hunt could sing a used car commercial and make it mesmerizing. The former lead singer and fiddle player for the Belleville Outfit just released her first full length solo collection, Live at the Cactus Cafe, and it does a great job showing off her musical and vocal range.
of the songs on the record do have that crossover country/jazz sound that Belleville Outfit was known for. Fly On, the opening cut has that spice to it, as does the funky Flee Fly Flow Fum. A little more in the jazz vein are Oh, So Many Ways and the almost steamy rendition of One Trick Pony.

For me, though, the strongest songs on the disc take that jazzy influence and add just a touch of, dare I say it, a progressive, folk rock sound of the 70's. On Walk Away, it’s so easy to hear Hunt channeling Joni Mitchell. Wild Oats, her self-proclaimed folk anthem, has guitarist Reed Turner injecting some sweet synthesized sounding guitar. Woman On Fire, the most up-tempo song on the album outside the Bo Diddley beat of I Got Love, carries a certain Celtic folk influence to it. Good Blood has a Ricki Lee Jones club performance feeling, some of that I suppose from the always great vibe of the Cactus Cafe.The material on this album celebrates a lot of styles that get thrown into the Americana mix. There are slow, acoustic ballads and upbeat pop songs, gospel, blues and country. So in many ways it’s the perfect accompaniment to this Independence Day weekend. - Twangville


“To spread that message of love” is how Phoebe Hunt describes her approach to traveling the country, playing music. Hunt, speaking by phone from a hotel in Billings, Mont., was talking about how a trip to a school in India (with Austin-based humanitarian group the Amala Foundation) helped her to realize just how lucky she was — not just in having secure housing, but to be able to choose how she would spend her life. “That inspired me to follow my dream,” she said.
That message of good will shines through in Hunt’s recent release, “Live at the Cactus Cafe.” The album, which features Hunt on fiddle and guitar, guitarist Reed Turner, Connor Forsyth (piano), Pat Harris (bass), Dave Sierra (drums) and Ellie Carol (vocals), goes a long way toward capturing the feel of a good show in a good listening room. Hunt’s voice is big and warm on songs such as “Walk Away” and “Flee Fly Flow Flum.” - The Austin American Statesman


“To spread that message of love” is how Phoebe Hunt describes her approach to traveling the country, playing music. Hunt, speaking by phone from a hotel in Billings, Mont., was talking about how a trip to a school in India (with Austin-based humanitarian group the Amala Foundation) helped her to realize just how lucky she was — not just in having secure housing, but to be able to choose how she would spend her life. “That inspired me to follow my dream,” she said.
That message of good will shines through in Hunt’s recent release, “Live at the Cactus Cafe.” The album, which features Hunt on fiddle and guitar, guitarist Reed Turner, Connor Forsyth (piano), Pat Harris (bass), Dave Sierra (drums) and Ellie Carol (vocals), goes a long way toward capturing the feel of a good show in a good listening room. Hunt’s voice is big and warm on songs such as “Walk Away” and “Flee Fly Flow Flum.” - The Austin American Statesman


WOMAN ON FIRE
By Jane Kellogg
Much like her music, Phoebe Hunt is easy to connect with. She smiles when she talks, she smiles when she sings and she radiates positivity with every word and every thought. The 29-year-old singer-songwriter gained a following performing with The Hudsons and The Belleville Outfit, rarely singing without the accompaniment of her fiddle—an instrument she’s been practicing for 23 years. Last June, Hunt displayed her playfully demure range with the release of her first full-length solo album, Live at the Cactus Café.
“The Cactus Café is such a part of Austin and our history—it’s legendary,” she says, remembering the night she recorded the album. “I get to share that stage with so many people who have been there before, and it’s like their energy is collected there. It’s really powerful.”
This month, she relives that night on a Northeastern tour with bandmates Reed Turner and Pat Harris. Her heart is almost as big as her voice. Along with singing and writing, Hunt prioritizes volunteering with the Amala Foundation throughout the world. The Austin foundation brings together kids—many of them refugee and immigrant children who have experienced extreme poverty, violence, war or child labor—and empowers them to lead and serve the world in a more peaceful way.
In August, Hunt shared her love of music at the foundation’s Global Youth Peace Summit in Austin, and the following week she invited children from the summit to write and record music with her during a five-day program she founded, Fuel Our Fire. After the peace summit, she says, the children “are open, receptive, alive, awakened and at the height of experiencing creative energy.” The goal is to teach them how to apply their musical talents in a meaningful way, and in doing so, she finds it inspires her own songwriting.
“You have to give fearlessly,” Hunt says. “You get so much back.” - The Austin Woman Magazine


Violinist/guitarist/ songstress Phoebe Hunt is well known to Natasha's audiences through many appearances at the venue with the Austin, Texas, Americana-and-more troupe The Belleville Outfit. Since the group dissolved, she has performed here alongside Kentucky pop-cello star Ben Sollee.

Her solo return Saturday comes on the heels of a fine new concert recording of pop, folk and occasionally jazz- and swing-leaning tunes, most of them original, recorded at one of Austin's most cherished musical haunts. Live at the Cactus Café 3-2-13 follows a self-titled, Matt Rollings-produced studio EP disc from 2012.

Phil Lee's ties with Lexington go back to shows at the long-defunct Lynagh's Music Club during the mid-'90s. He returns Sunday with an outstanding roots-inspired work called The Fall and Further Decline of the Mighty King of Love that boasts stark folk-blues reflections, voodoo gospel confessions and country meditations that journey into seriously dark corners. Onstage and off, Lee also has a wicked wit.

- The Lexington Herald


Violinist/guitarist/ songstress Phoebe Hunt is well known to Natasha's audiences through many appearances at the venue with the Austin, Texas, Americana-and-more troupe The Belleville Outfit. Since the group dissolved, she has performed here alongside Kentucky pop-cello star Ben Sollee.

Her solo return Saturday comes on the heels of a fine new concert recording of pop, folk and occasionally jazz- and swing-leaning tunes, most of them original, recorded at one of Austin's most cherished musical haunts. Live at the Cactus Café 3-2-13 follows a self-titled, Matt Rollings-produced studio EP disc from 2012.

Phil Lee's ties with Lexington go back to shows at the long-defunct Lynagh's Music Club during the mid-'90s. He returns Sunday with an outstanding roots-inspired work called The Fall and Further Decline of the Mighty King of Love that boasts stark folk-blues reflections, voodoo gospel confessions and country meditations that journey into seriously dark corners. Onstage and off, Lee also has a wicked wit.

- The Lexington Herald


Girlie Action
Phoebe Hunt, Jordan Whitmore, Raina Rose, Cheryl Murdock, and Emily Bell
REVIEWED BY MARGARET MOSER, FRI., OCT. 11, 2013

Anyone watching singer-songwriter/fiddler Phoebe Hunt leapfrog from Belleville Outfit belle to first-call session violinist to solo artist is witnessing the development of a formidable talent. "I don't want to sow these wild oats/I want to tend them," she sings on "Wild Oats," one of 16 tracks on Live at the Cactus Cafe (Popped Corn Records). Hunt brims with rare confidence in "Sugar," "Walk Away," and the tellingly titled "Woman on Fire." Locate your fire extinguisher. You'll want to keep an eye on this one.
- Austin Chronicle


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Phoebe Hunt just cant stay planted in one spot for long, and that insatiable wanderlust drives everything she does from exploring her own musical styles to living the gypsy life of a touring musician.

An Austin-to-Nashville migr, she recently made the leap to the Big Apple but not before heading back to Austin in March to record her new album, LIVE AT THE CACTUS CAF. The latest in a long line of artists to record at the iconic University of Texas listening room, the vocalist/fiddler/rhythm guitarist showcases her musicianship and sultry voice the main elements of her award winning folk-pop sound, on 16 tracks performed with her band before an enthusiastic audience. Its a fitting follow-up to her self-titled 2012 debut EP, created in Los Angeles with producer Matt Rollings.

On both, Hunt wraps her sultry voice and sincere lyrics right around listeners souls with each song. Flowing between the heartbreaking tones of a classic country song into the provocative riffs of a jazz artist, Hunt artfully navigates through many musical landscapes pulling from the heart of the American soul. She shifts moods from playfully demure to seductive and intimate in the blink of a beat. But the quality that shines through most is her honesty.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Hunt spent her college years touring around the Lone Star state with folk trio the Hudsons. After graduation, she hopped in the Belleville Outfits van, spending four years touring nationally with the renowned roots-Americana act. She also shared songwriting and lead-vocal credits on two albums.

Hunt spent 2012 in Nashville, honing her songwriting skills and touring with singer-songwriter-keyboardist Connor Forsyth (the Belleville Outfit, Ghosts Along the Brazos) and folk-rocker Reed Turner. And now, shes ready to shine amid the bright lights of New York City. And everywhere else listeners appreciate beguiling music made with spirit and tons of talent.

Band Members