High Octane – CD Review

When your uncle, Con Hunley, is called “one of the greatest singers… ever” by Vince Gill, your destiny as a part of the music industry is basically preordained. Such is the case with Con’s  nephew, Stephen.  His latest, “The Other Side Of Never” manages to thread a cohesive effort while utilizing wildly different styles. From the poppy horns on the title track that bring Chicago’s “Saturday In The Park” immediately to mind to the 70s funk of “Call Me Baby, ” the 45 minutes span decades of different genres without ever feeling disjointed.  The glue that binds it is Hunley’s  contemporary leanings . With relatable lyrics peppered with energetic electric guitar and jazzy keys throughout, the album never loses its modern feel.  Ironically, Hunley and producer Burton Akers recorded on analog for a “real human feel-limiting manipulation and digital correction.” Some of the all original 12 songs are thematically heavy. The highlight, “Pictures In Her Mind,” is a haunting ode to someone struggling with addiction. However, Hunley’s silky vocal delivery belies the heavy-handed subject matter. The numerous influences are just present enough to lend an organic feel throughout rather than tracks sounding  like imitations. “What fuels me as a songwriter and artist is the power to connect with every song. It’s a beautiful thing that I can write a song from my perspective and the listener can relate to it in a completely different way. With the pop crossover movement still very much a part of the country music landscape, this radio ready collection has a little something for everyone.

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Stephen Hunley “The Other Side Of Never”

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