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James Hunter traffics in an aesthetic that owes an obvious artistic debt to classic artists such as Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, yet he injects an appealing individuality into his artistry. His smoky vocals have a vulnerable quality that makes him a relatable, believable protagonist on tunes like “I Don’t Wanna Be Without You.” The new album (his second for Daptone, following 2016’s Hold On!) is a taut, 10-track affair that was produced by Bosco Mann and offers lively, potent horn charts featuring Damian Hand (tenor saxophone) and Lee Badau (baritone saxophone). Songs from this disc would fit snugly alongside cuts by Jones and Jackie Wilson on any mixtape bound for a sweaty basement party. - DownBeat Editors' Pick
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