John Hunt Four O'Clock Afternoon Blues & Swing (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

John Hunt Four O'clock Afternoon Blues & Swing

DIY guitars and raw blues

Simplicity is the key in this show: it's just one man, a homemade guitar and John Hunt stamping out a percussive beat in the Delta blues tradition. Hunt was born in London but is now, via the Isles of Scilly and Orkney, an Edinburgh resident. The music is instantly evocative of the deep south but the lyrical content of his self-penned material is distinctly British. It's an interesting juxtaposition – especially on a wryly amusing track about his uncle's wedding.

There's a raw, grizzled quality to Hunt's playing and vocals that makes it feel more lived-in and real. At times, eyes closed, he looks happily lost in music. His DIY guitars are suitably eccentric, matching his style. One is a solar-powered contraption made from an old B&Q shelf; the other a paper mache number constructed from old issues of Melody Maker dating back to 1986.

There's a unique old school R&B take on a Frank Sinatra number alongside a clever James Bond mash up and couple of classic covers. However, you get the impression Hunt plays fast and loose with his setlist, performing whatever takes his fancy, so you might get a completely different set on any day. But whatever he plays, it feels refreshingly authentic.

The Jazz Bar, 7, 10, 14, 16–18, 24 & 25 Aug, 4pm, £9 (£7).

John Hunt Four O'Clock Afternoon Blues and Swing

  • 4 stars

The Kind of Geezer Who Doesn't Facebook or Twitter Productions 'Boogie-woogie, slide-guitar master' ★★★★ (Scotsman). 'Fantastic' (Jools Holland). 'Ingenious 21st-century blues' ★★★★ (ThreeWeeks). 'Hunt builds cannibalised guitars, a B&Q shelf guitar with built-in PA and his famous 1985 papier-mâche semi-acoustic' ★★★…