Tom Hunter
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Tom Hunter

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The best kept secret in music



Here I Go Again
Tom Hunter | FS Music

Using his big, booming baritone voice, Tom Hunter sings jazz and blues with a convincing delivery. Much of the program on Here I Go Again, his third album, recalls the traditional spirit of Dr. John and like-minded artists from the Big Easy. Coincidentally, he also plays organ and piano, making those keys sparkle alongside each vocal selection. However, Hunter has put so much variety into his program that there’s just no way to pigeonhole him.

Never trust a man who hasn’t paid his dues. Hunter has been there, done that, and it shows up in each of these twelve selections. After music school, he joined the navy, then moved around a bit, from New York to South Carolina and settling in Minneapolis. While in the South, he worked for three years in a down-home setting at Myrtle Beach. Today, he continues to work more than 300 nights a year.
The Sonny Rollins classic ”Tenor Madness” is offered up as an instrumental number. Hunter’s piano swings and romps along with acoustic bass, electric guitar, and drums. The quartet drives with plenty of spirit. Hunter’s vocals give the rest of the album a soulful element that comes loaded with genuine, deep-down soul. The songs that he’s selected represent unique and familiar individuals such as Ray Charles, Tom Waits, Dr. John, Billy Joel, and Doc Pomus.

Two original songs reveal the true blue spirit of Hunter’s character. He’s just a tad over forty, but he’s seen the world through a bluesman’s eyes and a jazzman’s ears. And he continues to do his thing night after night.
”Basin Street Blues” carries a big load of tradition. As Hunter explains in familiar terms,
Ain’t you glad you went with me
Way on down the Mississippi
We took a boat to the land of dreams
Heaven and earth, they call it Basin Street.

- All About Jazz - January 2006

"DR. Blues CD Review 4/1/06"

Here I Go Again-Tom Hunter FS Music FSM31232 2006

Tom Hunter is a piano player whose career has been on an upward trajectory
ever since his starting days back in Cornwall, NY. His earnest vocals,
delicate, pounding blues and jazz paino skills and ability to back the
"industry"'s best have earned him notice. Back in his NY days, Bill Perry,
Little Sammy Davis and Murali Coryell have sought the Hunter fingers.
Moving onto a bigger stage in the Midwest, Hunter's ivory has figured behind
Bernard Allison. A common sight around NOLA, Tom has been featured on
several WWOZ Piano Nights during Jazzfest. On his own, he rocks steady with
a stalwart blue core. His version of "Imitation of Love' is jumpy and his
other Doc Pomus covers are sharp too. William Joel's "New York State of
Mind" is gritty and textural. Joined by his Minneapolis buddies Jon
Gunvaldson on axe, Keith Boyle's bass and Rob Stupka's drums, soulful and
strong tracks are set to wax. Tom's ability ranges from Ton Waits to a
brilliant strinding "Basin Street Blues." Sonny Rollins' "Tenor Madness'
swings, Ray Charles' "Drown In My Own Tears" hurts to the soul. With two of
his own, a palette of fine covers and excellent musicianship, there isn't a
bad cut to hear on Here I Go Again. 7 snaves - The Long Island Blues Society

"Interview with Tom Hunter"

This is a Q & A interview with Musician Tom Hunter. Interviewed by Sal Treppiedi of Albuquerque, New Mexico, published on his popular music blog...
The Great Beyond
"For music connoisseurs who have grown bored
of stale music, this blog provides news, reviews
and interviews with artists that deserve attention"

Q: What type of music was heard in the Hunter household growing up?
A: There wasn't a lot of music in the house. I'd get most of it from church and school. But, two of my sisters took piano lessons, so I'd here that. And my parents watched a lot of PBS, so I'd see performances when I was growing up, and had a great appreciation for some of the jazz I would see, i.e. Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Bassie.... My parents would play music on our old stereo at Christmas time. Loved Bing, still do. He was the best.
My Great Grandmother, Margaret Cerussi, could play anything, and
would play a lot of Ragtime,Gospel and period stuff when she came over.

Q: Did any one musician or band stick out as you were growing up?
A: In addition to the artists mentioned above, I also listened to my Grandfather’s Chet Atkins albums, Billy Joel, and anything else coming off of FM radio in NY.

Q: Gospel played an integral in your youth. Elaborate on the influence gospel music had on your life growing up as well as in your fledgling music career.
A: All of the organized music I participated in was thru the local church in Cornwall, NY. I was taught to play the Blues by the preacher’s son. He showed me the blues progression on the church he would sing while I played.

Q: Tell me about the first gig you ever played. How vividly do you remember the details?
A:The first gig I ever played was at The F&J Tavern in Cornwall, NY. It was filled with all our friends and we had a ball. They didn’t normally have music there and I don’t think they were ready for the crowd. We were all very drunk, so I don’t remember if we played well or not. It didn’t seem to matter.

Q: What life lessons did you learn in the navy that have transferred over to your music career?
A: I learned how to show up on time in the navy, they were into that whole prompt, punctual thing!

Q: Why choose to do songs from so many other popular artists?
A: I wanted to do an album to record the band. They’re a great band, and it’s a privilege, and a lot of fun working with them. I didn’t have enough original material, so we included some of the tunes we perform regularly, great songs that truly speak to me.

Q: Let's talk about the songs and artists that you have chosen to cover. The one who stands out the most is Doc Pomus. I'm guessing he is/was a profound influence on your music.
A: It’s not so much Doc Pomus, but Johnny Adams turning me on to Doc Pomus. I met Johnny Adams in Mountain View, CA at a place called JJ’s Blue Cafe. He was on a double bill with Nappy Brown and it was great. I would go out there on business trips when I worked for IBM, and check out bands.
Johnny was the greatest singer I had ever seen. It blew me away, and I was an instant fan. I went out the next day and bought Room With A View, and kept going back for more. When he did an album of Doc’s work, I heard it. That was probably Johnny’s best record, which shows the emotional content of the tunes.
I do The Night is a Hunter because of one line in particular...“I played the honkytonks, and the upholstered sewers, and all the square sets in between, do up - Every kind of high, legit’ and otherwise, and make every unknown scene.”
That one really got me.

Q. For these next questions, if you could elaborate on whether it was the artist, the song or both that prompted you to choose it for inclusion on this CD
•Ray Charles - "Drown In My Tears"
I love Ray Charles, that’s natural, but I really love this song. We’ve been doing it for a long time, and it felt right.
•Tom Waits - "New Coat of Paint" - I'm guessing Waits is not the easiest person to interpret?
I’m a fan of Tom Waits, and this is one of the tunes of his that speaks to me, which made it easy to interpret.
•Billy Joel - "New York State of Mind" - on the CD - I loved how you took his pop song, and turned it into more of a jazz number. What makes New York a special place for you?
I’m from a town about 50 miles north of NYC, called Cornwall, NY. And it was also the first actual song I ever learned. So I guess I’ve been playing it for almost 30 years. It’s kind of grown into something after all these years, my ex-wife just told me she liked the way I used to do it... what did she mean?
•Sonny Rollins - "Tenor Madness"- on the CD?
I learned this song because Rick O’Dell, a friend who passed away, wanted me to learn it. He played a great tenor sax, and is missed. I’m sorry he’s gone from us now. This song swings, and I really like what Gunner does with it.

Q. 300 SHOWS A YEAR. That's a massive load. I take it you have a bit of the Energizer Bunny in you. What keeps you going?
A: Well, I started slowing down, so I had to clean up my life and start working out. It keeps me on top of my game.

Q. Tom, you've had the privilege of playing with, and/or opening for, some amazing musicians. Give me two or three life or musical lessons you've gleaned.
A: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you have to stay positive. Every great artist
I’ve had the privilege of working with or near, taught me that you really have to love
your audience. It’s really them that you’re there for.
It doesn’t matter if your black or white, it’s really what’s inside that counts.
A man’s got to say what’s on his mind, and what better way than a song.

Q: Finally, what plans are in store for you in 2006?
I hope to find an agent, or agents to work with so I can go out and promote this recording. And I’d also like to be in the studio by the years end to do an album with Jon Gunvaldson.

From Living in "The Great Beyond" and presumed having fun!!!

- on his popular music blog

"Tom Hunter “Here I Go Again” 2006 FS Music"

This, Tom’s third CD, features jazzy blues the incomparable Mr. Hunter has established as his trademark. Teaming with veteran sidemen Jon “Gunner” Gunvaldson on guitar, Rob Stupka on drums and Keith Boyles on bass, this offering just drips with old fashioned lounge-cool confidence. Featuring familiar standards “I Underestimated You”, The Night is a Hunter” and “Imitation of Love” by Doc Pomus; “New York State of Mind” (Billy Joel), “Basin Street Blues” (Spencer Williams), and “Drown in My Own Tears” (Ray Charles); as well as originals “Here I go Again” and “Nothing’s For Free”, Tom’s delivery is as smooth, slick and dangerous as a greased copperhead. Killer!
Tom plays an average of 300 dates a year. Wherever you catch him, order an extra dry martini (shaken not stirred), savor a robust Manudo cigar, sit back and bask in the rapture of “COOL”. Until then pick up “Here I Go Again” and experience Tom in your own living room. You can check Tom’s schedule, as well as getting on his mailing list at Check for local gigs in our calendar -and- be sure to catch our exclusive interview with Tom in the March issue of Blue Monday Monthly.
- Blue Monday - February 2006

"Blues Bytes – Online – February 2006"

Over the past fifteen years, keyboard man Tom Hunter has played with or appeared on recordings by Bill Perry, George Davis, Murali Coryell, Little Sammy Davis, Big John Dickerson, and Bernard Allison. Hunter’s third solo release, Here I Go Again (FS Music), is a lively disc that mixes blues, pop, jazz, and soul standards with a couple of Hunter originals. Hunter is a talented musician, playing piano, Fender Rhodes, and Hammond Organ, and is a robust singer, able to tackle any of the genres he chooses. Any song list that includes three covers of Doc Pomus tunes has to be a strong one, and Hunter selected wisely from that catalog (“I Underestimated You,” “Imitation of Love,” and “The Night Is A Hunter”). Other solid selections include Tom Waits’ “New Coat of Paint,” Ray Charles’ “Drown In My Own Tears,” Spencer Williams’ classic “Basin Street Blues,” and Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” Hunter also takes an interesting stab at Sonny Rollins’ “Tenor Madness.” Two original compositions by Hunter, the title cut and “Nothing’s For Free,” stand up well with the standards. The band provides exemplary backing, particularly Jon “Gunnar” Gunvaldson’s jazzy guitar work. There just aren’t enough blues albums out there these days featuring the piano as the lead instrument, but Here I Go Again is ready and able to buck the trend, with some great music covering a broad range of styles. - By Graham Clarke

"James River Blues Society - February 2006"

James River Blues Society - February 2006
Tom Hunter "Here I Go Again" (FS Music FSM31232)
By Arthur Shuey
…………this is an excellent record, a showcase for a soulful singer and keyboard player doing two originals and ten covers, the latter ranging from the work of Doc Pomus to Ray Charles to Spencer Williams to Billy Joel, the former showing that Hunter himself knows how to write songs. He’s ready to break national. Look him up online and find out more.
By Rusty Wilbourn
It's refreshing to hear a good blues pianist still using the Fender Rhodes and a Grand Piano in these computerized times in which we live. Both instruments now qualify as vintage axes and
Tom Hunter knows his way around the 88 keys.
"Here I Go Again" is a twelve cut compilation. Two songs, the title cut and "Nothing's For Free" were written by Hunter. The rest are covers by such greats as Sonny Rollins, Ray Charles and Billy Joel. Hunter must have a passion for Doc Pomus/Mac Rebennack tunes since three out of the twelve cuts (or in other words, 25% of the CD) is Pomus/Rebennack. For those of you who were unaware, Mac Rebennack is better know on the piano bench as Dr. John, "The Night Tripper" one of Nawlins' finest. A couple of the pieces on "Here I Go Again" namely "New York State of Mind" and "Basin Street Blues" really don't qualify as blues (Basin Street Blues is New Orleans Ragtime Jazz, thank you!) but that's OK, even the most die hard blues fan needs a break from the twelve bar progression occasionally.
I was particularly pleased with Hunter's arrangement of Billy Joel’s "New York State of Mind" and "New Coat of Paint" by Tom Waits. "NY State of Mind" is an awesome duet with tenor sax player Peter Vircks. Vircks goes modal with his improvisation and may be a bit complex for some listeners. I didn't like it at first but after a few replays I was chugging warm drafts. "Paint" is a jazzed up version that works better that Waits' original IMHO. Speaking of tenor sax, "Tenor Madness" by Sonny Rollins never really needed a sax anyhow, did it?
The overall production of this recording is great, it's clean and crisp. Hunter's vocals sometimes hint at Dr. John. Especially on "Basin Street Blues" then his pipes mellow out to a Lou Rawls tone in his original numbers.
Highest recommendations. ****
- Aurther Shuey and Rusty Wilbourn

"Jazz Review - March 2006"

Featured Artist: Tom Hunter

CD Title: Here I Go Again

Year: 2006

Review: Tom Hunter is a singer/pianist from Minneapolis. While this is Hunter's third album, it's been our first chance to hear him. Here I Go Again will see much wider distribution than his earlier discs and introduces a couple of his own songs.

From the first note, Hunter's voice and manner reminded me of another singer-pianist who turned a lot of heads way back in the middle 1950s. That musician was Chuck Miller who dabbled in blues, boogie, ballads and rock. Like Chuck Miller, Tom Hunter sings like a horn player in the same way that Armstrong and Teagarden did decades ago. The press release for Hunter's CD states "File Under Blues" but the disc really spans several genres. The self-taught piano-man seems quite comfortable whether in a mainstream jazz mood or shouting his own blues "Nothing's For Free." The latter features the singer on Hammond organ and it's an impressive bit of writing. Hunter takes a crack at items by Doc Pomus, Ray Charles, Doctor John and Billy Joel. His reading of Ray Charles' "Drown In My Own Tears" is a winner. Jazz fans will like his piano interpretation of "Tenor Madness," a Sonny Rollins favorite.

We loved Tom Hunter's take on "Layin' In The Alley" and the Spencer Williams classic "Basin Street Blues." Both tracks offer a fine insight into the artist's vocal and instrumental skills. He's inventive without disregarding tradition. Here I Go Again is a nice light-hearted album and deserves a close listen. .

Tracks: I Understand You, Imitation Of Love, Here I Go Again, The Night Is A Hunter, Ever Since The World Began, New Coat Of Paint, New York State Of Mind, Basin Street Blues, Tenor Madness, Nothing's For Free, Drown In My Own Tears, Layin' In The Alley.

Record Label Website:

Artist's Website:

Reviewed by: Richard Bourcier

- Jazz Review by Richard Bourcier

"Chicago Sun times - Spin Control - Feb. 12th"

Tom Hunter, "Here I Go Again" (FS Music) ***
Blue-eyed soul-blues singer Tom Hunter infuses his strong baritone with a N'Awlins inflection, but he's actually from a "New York State of Mind," to borrow a phrase from fellow piano man Billy Joel. And why not borrow? Hunter does with the Joel number and nine other tunes out of the dozen on "Here I Go Again," including three from Doc Pomus.
The church-music-trained artist wisely draws on material that suits his talent, including Tom Waits' "New Coat of Paint," Ray Charles' "Drown in My Own Tears" and Sonny Rollins' "Tenor Madness," an instrumental track.
Hunter spent some time in the Navy before settling in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He's currently holding court almost nightly in the clubs of Minneapolis. His road-hardened delivery and tight four-piece band, which features guitarist Jon "Gunner" Gunvaldson, make him a good bet to re-create the studio magic in a live setting.
-Jeff Johnson
- By Jeff Johnson

"Here I Go Again - April 2006"

Tom Hunter
Tom Hunter is a damn fine keyboard player (piano, organ, and electric) and a right fair singer, got kind of a Dr John thing goin’ on at times. In fact, he covers a Mack Rebbenack song. Most of the tunes here are covers, although Hunter did write two, including the title track.


"Midwest Record Recap - the Insider's Look Jan 28, 2006"

TOM HUNTER/Here I Go Again: This guy almost looks like a cabaret singer and I wasn't in a cabaret mood when I was opening the mail. Surprise, he's a dripping with soul, blues belting, white boy that can even bring soul to Billy Joel songs. Clearly in the pocket of making music for adults, this is how Steve Tyrell would sound without the budgets and big labels behind him to tweak and sweeten the project relying on little more than real soul to power the proceedings. Pretty interesting outing that comes at you from leftfield but you won't let it go back there.
31232 (FS)
- Midwest Record Recap


Vocals and Piano: Tom Hunter
Guitar: Jon Gunvaldson
Drums: Rob Stupka
Bass: Gordon Johnson
Sax: Kenni Holmen

(available again soon)

Vocals and Piano: Tom Hunter
Drums: Rob Stupka
Bass: Scot Hornick

(currently out of print)

Lead vocal, piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ: Tom Hunter
Drums: Rob Stupka
Bass: Keith Boyles
Saxophone: Peter Vircks
Background vocals: Tonya Hughes, Nesey Davis, Latonius Earl


Feeling a bit camera shy


Like many before, Tom Hunter’s passion for music was born out of the church. Singing in the choir and watching his sisters at the piano, he developed an ardor for these musical instruments. Not one to be instructed, Hunter taught himself to play the piano and discovered blues from the preacher’s son who showed him a blues progression. Hunter’s path took him in and out of blues & jazz music for many years until he realized it was his life.

After a semester at music school for voice in 1982, Hunter joined the navy where he started playing piano seriously. He didn’t realize his talent until after the navy when he relocated to the Hudson valley. Hanging out at some local jams, fellow musicians hired him to play in their bands. Among those was Bill Perry, who Hunter played with full-time in the early 90’s.

From New York, Hunter moved to South Carolina in 1994 to play with George Davis and went into a house gig in Myrtle Beach where he performed on piano and bass for nearly three years. He then went back on the road with Bill Perry and played piano on Perry’s CD, “Greycourt Lightning” (PointBlank Records 1998). Around the same time Hunter also played and recorded with such contemporaries as Pete Kanaras (Nighthawks), Murali Coryell (Chess Records), and Little Sammy Davis (Delmark Records).

Upon moving to Minneapolis in 1997, Tom found gigs with Big John Dickerson and Blue Chamber (Cannonball Records), and by the end of the year he was lending his vocal and keyboard talents to the Big Bang. His performances with that band got the attention of Bernard Allison (Ruff Records / Tone-Cool Records), who hired Tom on the spot to not only record on "Times are Changing," but also to tour extensively with the band.

In 1999 Hunter achieved another step up the music ladder when he joined Mary Cutrufello in support of The Allman Brothers Band 30th Anniversary Tour. The same year Hunter released his debut self-produced album, “Big Thunder” and formed his own band playing in the Minneapolis area. Now in its fifth pressing, “Big Thunder” stands as a testament to Hunter's understanding and mastery of the roots of blues and jazz.

His second self-produced album “Tom Hunter and the Blue Frenzy, Live at the Narrows,” recorded in 2004 captured the matchless energy of a live concert without sacrificing the integrity of studio-quality sound.

His third album, “Here I Go Again” (FS Music 2006) contains two original pieces of work, the title track and “Nothing’s for Free.” The other ten tracks have all been arranged by Hunter and include “New York State of Mind” (Billy Joel) with stellar saxophone courtesy of Peter Vircks, “Drown in My Own Tears” (Ray Charles) and “New Coat of Paint” (Ton Waits).

Tom Hunter brings not only years of experience, but also a live show honed by performance after performance (over 300 dates a year) that unleashes no-holds-barred music and brings the crowd along for the crazy ride. From solo to full band, Tom Hunter covers the musical spectrum from smoky jazz to gut-bucket Chicago blues.