Stereo Embers The Podcast: Kelly Hunt

Written by on 11/01/2023

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“Ozark Symphony”

Born in Memphis into a musical family, Kelly Hunt grew up listening to classical, folk and Delta Blues. She sang in the choir and played the piano, but it was the five-string banjo that stole her heart. Hunt was both a traditionalist and a modernist, blending old-time picking with her own brand of improvisation. After graduating from college she explored farming, the visual arts and French breadmaking and then she settled in Kansas City and got to work on the songs that would make up her debut album Even The Sparrow. Even The Sparrow is a stunner of a debut, garnering a nomination for the International Folk Music Award. Her sophomore effort Ozark Symphony ups the ante’ and makes the case that Hunt might very well be one of the most spellbinding forces in folk music. Summoning philosophy, poetry and the legacies and stories of the American South, Ozark Symphony brings to mind Joni Mitchell, Walt Whitman and Rhiannan Giddens. From the soaring glory of Top Of The World to the gentle percussion of On The Bayou, Ozark Symphony is a stunner. The songs are played with precision and finesse and the lilting melodies and achingly beautiful hooks are emotionally exact. Now, I’ve interviewed Jesse Malin while he was running errands, Xavier Boyle from Tahiti 80 talked to me while he was on a date, and Kelly Hunt? Well, she did this whole interview on a swing. Seriously. So let’s swing!!


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