February 18th, 2020 10pm Stage 2
Celebrating Rockwood Music Hall’s 15-Year Anniversary!
For Early Show, visit here.
Van Hunt, a Dayton, Ohio-born musician, made his way to Atlanta where he drew acclaim for his production efforts and crafty songwriting, featured on recordings by such diverse artists as Dionne Farris, Rahsaan Patterson, and Cree Summer as well as the platinum-selling soundtrack, Love Jones. His own self-titled debut album arrived in 2004, instantly establishing Hunt as a distinctive and original talent with its idiosyncratic melding of R&B, neo-soul, funk, pop, and rock ‘n’ roll. Hunt received a 2005 “Best Urban/Alternative Performance” Grammy nomination for his breakthrough hit single, “Dust” that was featured on his debut album.
On The Jungle Floor followed two years later, highlighted by the single, “Character,” as well as by a surprising cover of Iggy Pop & James Williamson’s Kill City classic, “No Sense Of Crime.”
In 2007, Hunt received a Grammy Award for “Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals,” honoring “Family Affair,” a collaboration with John Legend and Joss Stone found on the 2006 Sly & The Family Stone tribute album, Different Strokes For Different Folks.
Hunt’s third album, Popular, was slated for 2008 but remains officially unreleased. Nevertheless, the album has become an underground sensation, a classic lost album hailed by LA Weekly as “a left-field stunner” for its “trippy fusion of funk grooves, punk guitar and soul vocals.”
In 2011, Hunt released What Were You Hoping For?. Reaching both Billboard’s Top 50 R&B/Hiphop and Heat Seekers charts, the album also received rave reviews. Metacritic branded the record’s critical success as “universal acclaim”, for an album averaging a score of 90 among music critics. What Were You Hoping For? was listed among “The Best Albums of 2011” by The New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune, The LA Times, The AV CLub and a league of other music publications.
A charismatic and engaging live performer, Hunt has also attracted critical praise touring both as headliner as well as alongside such diverse acts as Kanye West, The Roots, Coldplay, Mary J. Blige, and Dave Matthews Band.
Van Hunt’s fifth album is expected to be released at the beginning of 2015. Inspired by the music of The Delfonics, Parliament-Funkadelic, Pink Floyd, and Billie Holiday, Hunt has hinted that the album “chronicles love, loss, and nostalgia” through the sounds of “original funk and old soul.”
For nearly two decades, Nate Smith has been a key piece in reinvigorating the international music scene with his visceral, instinctive, and deep-rooted style of drumming. He holds a diverse and ample résumé — which includes work with esteemed jazz leading lights such as Pat Metheny, Dave Holland, Chris Potter, José James, John Patitucci, Ravi Coltrane, and Somi among many others. His 2x GRAMMY-nominated debut album, KINFOLK: Postcards from Everywhere, sees Smith fusing his original modern jazz compositions with R&B, pop, and hip-hop. He’s also ventured into the pop/rock world with recent collaborations with Vulfpeck spinoff band The Fearless Flyers, Brittany Howard (of Alabama Shakes) and performances with songwriters Emily King and Van Hunt. In recent years, through a series of viral videos, he has emerged as one of the most influential and popular drummers of his generation. His videos have been viewed millions of times and have inspired countless musicians and fans. In September of 2018, he released his first ever solo drumset album Pocket Change.
As a composer and arranger, Mr. Smith received two (2) GRAMMY nominations for his composition “Home Free (for Peter Joe)” for best instrumental composition and best arrangement (instrumental or a cappella). Of the KINFOLK: Postcards From Everywhere project, Mr. Smith says: “It was my goal to start with the simplest of elements, singable melodies with familiar harmonies, and use them to weave stories that felt nostalgic without being overly sentimental. Pieces like ‘Retold’ and ‘Pages’ use familiar, consonant harmonies as a means of evoking the listener to “reach back” for a memory, while ‘Skip Step’ and Spinning Down’ use layers of rhythm to express a feeling of unsettled tension. ‘Disenchantment: The Weight’ uses an ascending/descending chord progression to simulate a deep sigh of resignation, while ‘Home Free (for Peter Joe)’ uses a hymn like melody as a means of evoking feelings of both solemnity and ceremony.
Mr. Smith currently lives and works in NYC.