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.