Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward

Origin: London England, Rhode Island, USA

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Genres: Blues, funk, Jazz rock, Soul

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Charlie Hunter is an American guitarist, composer and bandleader.  He is widely considered the authority on the seven and eight string guitar on which he simultaneously plays bass lines, chords and melodies.

Lucy Woodward was born in London and spent her childhood in New York and Holland.  She is the daughter of two classical musicians; her father a conductor and composer, her mother an opera singer.

A Rhode Island native Hunter was around guitars at an early age because his mother repaired them for a living.  He and his mother and sister lived in a commune in Mendocino County, California before settling in Berkeley.  As a teen Hunter took lessons from rock guitarist Joe Satriani.

Woodward fresh out of school began singing jazz in New York City’s West Village.  In 2003 she scored a top forty hit with “Dumb Girls.”  Not content to be a pop diva Lucy records albums that move effortlessly across multiple genres including gypsy-swing, jazz and rhythm & blues.

The musical partnership of guitarist Charlie Hunter and vocalist Lucy Woodward began under inauspicious circumstances.  In January 2018 shortly before he was scheduled for a west coast tour with Mexican singer Silvana Estrada, Hunter got word that her visa was denied.  Needing an emergency vocalist for the dates, Hunter reached out to Woodward, whom he knew through their mutual friends in the jazz/funk collective Snarky Puppy.

Woodward was game but she also knew they only had days to build a set list.  Since both artists came from a blues background it was the logical place to start.  They began exchanging Blind Willie Johnson and Bessie Smith tunes from the early Twenties.  Finding songs that they always wanted to perform they quickly came up with ideas, had a two hour rehearsal and did their first show the next day.

The duo seemed to hit it off musically and culturally immediately.  Each night’s tour became an exhilarating high-wire walk for the two artists as they navigated the melodies, grooves and spaces of the songs they were covering, with arrangements that they’d often just cooked up on the way to the gig.  Four shows into the tour Hunter suggested that they record together.

After further refining their repertoire via several subsequent tours together, Hunter and Woodward finally did just that.  In November 2018, the pair reconvened with longtime Hunter collaborator Derrek Phillips on the drums.  In just three days Hunter, Woodward and Phillips recorded the eleven tracks that comprise their debut album Music!Music!Music!  The often drastically reworked songs range from the old-world blues of Blind Willie Johnson and Bessie Smith to the tormented soul of Nina Simone to jazz standards, bluegrass and alt-country classics.

Soulful, spacious and deliciously in the pocket, Music!Music!Music! makes the most of the interplay between Hunter’s funky guitar and Woodward’s powerful voice.  The album reverberates with the thrilling intensity of the duo’s live shows, while crackling with the electricity that results when two talented performers stretch out together from their respective comfort zones.

For Woodward, it was a new experience singing in the studio with such sparse-yet-funky instrumentation, not to mention recording in a situation where vibe and feel took precedent over tight arrangements.

The fun continues throughout 2019 when Hunter and Woodward return to the road to take Music!Music!Music! to the people.  Not bad at all for a project that originally came together in a flurry of texts and emails.

Reference –

Charlie Hunter/Lucy Woodward discography

Music! Music! Music! (2019)

Sacramento’s K-ZAP 93.3 FM plays Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward.  All part of 50 years of Rock, Blues and More, 24-7 on our station’s stream at K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/

Check out Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward performing “Can’t Let Go.”