Meet Kelley Hunt

(Frank) And here we are again! You know I’m proudly on the volunteer board of the Jayhawk Theatre of Kansas and we are in the process of raising funds to completely renovate the theatre. In the meantime we have a lot of events that are going on there. One of them was the person that we’re going to talk about next. And not only was she putting on a tremendous show, it was a sellout, and we really do thank Kelley for honoring us to be at the Jayhawk Theatre at one of our fundraising events. (Deb) You’re going to love Kelley! (Frank) Just mentioning the name Kelley Hunt is enough to generate excitement. The singer, songwriter, piano player and guitarist defies easy definitions or pigeonholing. Her website describes her as a “woman who has muscled her way onto the scene on her own terms with an identity steeped in blues/roots/gospel traditions and a refreshing originality”. Kelley makes music with “its righteous roots intact” that also crosses boundaries. Together with a commanding, passionate stage presence and superior vocal, keyboard and songwriting skills, she has earned the respect of critics and fans across North America and Europe. Born in Kansas City, Kelley was influenced by listening to early blues, R&B, roots rock, jazz and Gospel, a crossection of the New Orleans, St. Louis, KC piano traditions, as well as Kansas City masters Jay McShann and Mary Lou Williams. Before that came the sound of her mother singing jazz and blues – her first musical memories – and the influence of her New Orleans Gospel singer grandmother. Reminders of these very traditional influences are evident in Kelley’s live performances and recordings but the lyrics, soul and passion are all her own. Kelley’s resume includes appearances on a long list of premier festival stages, and she has appeared six times on A Prairie Home Companion. Kelley’s latest album, The Beautiful Bones is her 6th release and 4th as co-producer. It has been called the best work of her career. “More than bones prove beautiful on this scintillating release…Kelley Hunt’s time has come.” writes BLUES MUSIC MAGAZINE. Kelley described how the song came to be. “I had already written most of the songs,” she said, “and felt they were about the things that are important to us all as people, but The Beautiful Bones connected them. I was inspired by looking out my kitchen window while I was playing guitar and seeing the bare branches of a tree covered in snow, and I started to think about the layers we all have in our lives and the possibilities that come with each of them. The bare branches of that tree started to resemble a hand, and I started thinking of all the strong women in my family. It was as if they were sending me a message. Fifteen minutes later the song was done.” In a state where we can boast many musical accomplishments, Kelley Hunt is a rare find.

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