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James Hunter talks new old soul sound, 'Minute by Minute'

James Hunter

James Hunter Credit: James Hunter

Sometimes it takes the British to remind Americans about their cultural treasures. In the '60s, bands like The Rolling Stones brought American blues to the masses. In recent years, singers like Adele tapped into classic American soul.

Like them, James Hunter is a soul-obsessed export, and he has performed alongside Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin.

amNY spoke with Hunter as he prepared to release his first album in five years, "Minute by Minute," which is now available.

Why did it take you so long between albums? I'm a slow writer. I'm starting to get better at it. It shouldn't be so long next time. The writing juices just weren't going.

What gets your juices going? It's usually pressure. Or fear. When people say, "Hurry up before everyone forgets about you."

Why did you credit this album to The James Hunter Six instead of to you solo? I wanted a name that was inclusive and acknowledged that we were a unit. With my name on its own, people might think I'm a sensitive singer-songwriter type. The James Hunter Six had more attitude. ... If you can't come up with a band name, name it after the number of people in the band.

Why were you performing on the street after being in Van Morrison's band? I was stuck for options. I didn't feel qualified to do anything else. It was a way of keeping a hand in music without getting a proper job.

Was it hard to go from playing big venues to busking? It was a step up. I was a supporter on Van's gigs, but was headlining on Compton Street. I was the only one there!

If you go: The James Hunter Six is at The Bell House Wednesday night at 9. 149 Seventh St., Gowanus, 718-643-6510, $25.

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