Music News & Reviews

Kelley Hunt gears up for Wichita-area performances

Kelley Hunt has been all over the world playing the blues. There have been some places that have touched her heart. One spin of her 2009 album, “Mercy,” and it’s evident that Hunt is enamored with New Orleans, for example.

“That wonderful city definitely had an effect on me,” Hunt said. “My mother’s side of the family is from there. My grandmother sang gospel there. It’s a great city.”

Hunt loves the Big Easy, but she’s typically in a Kansas state of mind. The native of Emporia called from her Lawrence home to chat up her upcoming date in Wichita.

“It’s been three years since I’ve played Riverfest,” Hunt said. “That’s too long for me. I love Wichita, but it’s not surprising that I want to play there since I’m a Kansas girl. I could live anywhere, but just put me down in the Flint Hills and my heart rate slows down. It’s so beautiful all over Kansas.”

When Hunt takes the stage solo May 24 at Botanica and June 2 with her band at the Wichita River Festival, you can bet that her heart will be moving at a steady clip.

“I’ll be excited,” Hunt said. “There’s no doubt about that. Whenever I perform, I get pretty charged up.”

Hunt will be showcasing songs from her latest album, “Gravity Loves You,” which dropped in 2011. Hunt co-wrote nine of the moving bluesy songs with poet laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg.

“I’ve done some writing with her in the past, and we are just very comfortable with each other,” Hunt said. “We wrote three on the last album, and it was the two of us writing all of the tunes on this one, plus the three songs I wrote by myself. It’s nice when you’re comfortable with someone.”

It’s no surprise that the fresh material is eclectic. Hunt easily moves from blues to soul to rock.

“I’m very much into the blues, but I do like all kinds of music,” Hunt said. “I can’t be put in just one category. A long time ago, I just decided to let it rip. I have to be authentic and be myself. So my music reflects me, it’s varied. I’m old-school.”

Indeed. Hunt avoids Pro Tools and digital recording. She prefers analog.

“I just love that rich, warm sound,” Hunt said. “Analog just sounds great. Call me a traditionalist. That’s the way I am. It works for my music. I’ll do whatever I have to do to get the best possible sound. I’m not going to shortchange anyone who listens to my music, whether it’s recorded in the studio or performed live. It’s got to be the best that it can possibly be.”