Taken from Santa Cruz Sentinel (Dec 11, 2019)
Connecting on a higher plane: The soulful blues of Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward
by John Malkin
Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward will be joined by drummer Doug Belote for an evening of soulful, funky blues at Kuumbwa Jazz Center (320 Cedar Street) at 7 and 9 p.m. Monday. The trio will perform songs from Hunter and Woodward's 2019 debut album "Music! Music Music!" (Contributed - Sallie Mosley)
Listening to Charlie Hunter play guitar, you might assume his funky blues are backed up by an equally amazing bass player. But it's all Charlie, playing both parts simultaneously on seven or eight string guitars. Lately, Hunter is touring with the powerful and sultry vocalist Lucy Woodward, to create a sound that's spacious and playful.
The two will be joined by drummer Doug Belote for an evening of soulful, funky blues at Kuumbwa Jazz Center (320 Cedar Street) at 7 and 9 p.m. Monday. The trio will perform songs from Hunter and Woodward's 2019 debut album "Music! Music Music!" plus plenty of surprises. "Music! Music! Music!" features Derreck Phillips on drums with 11 cover songs that span from 1894 to 1987 by Blind Willie Johnson, Ella Fitzgerald, Terence Trent D'Arby and others including three songs by Nina Simone.
Woodward told the Sentinel, "A lot of people don't know "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" was originally recorded by Nina Simone. She did it as a ballad. It was beautiful and haunting. Then the Animals made it a hit. That was one of the first songs we picked for the album."
Charlie Hunter invited Woodward to join him on his 2018 tour when the singer he'd planned on touring with - Silvana Estrada - was denied a visa by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
"I made a record with this really cool, young woman from Veracruz province in Mexico. I spent a lot of money trying to get Silvana a visa for the tour," recounts Hunter. "The current climate is not one of kindness and understanding, to say the least. Luckily, Lucy Woodward was available." Hunter and Woodward met through mutual friends in the band Snarky Puppy, and their repertoire came together quickly.
"Charlie called and asked if I could come on the tour, "But you have to get on a plane in four days." I said, "No problem, let's do it," remembers Woodward. "I'm really good with high-pressure, last-minute gigs. That's how I came into Rod Stewart's world; "Hey, can you learn twenty-eight songs and twenty-eight dance moves in five days?" I like it; pressure's on."
Woodward performed as a backup singer for Rod Stewart for more than four years and has sung on records for Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and a forthcoming Joni Mitchell tribute by Chaka Khan.
"Playing music for a living is pretty awesome. And, I don't take it for granted. Lucy and I have been doing this for a while, and we have a really good time," Hunter offers. "Art and music are a way we can connect beyond all of the tedium and misunderstandings; it's a higher plane. Music is its own unintended form of diplomacy."