Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter on his new album ahead of Tavistock Wharf gig
HAVING spent most of his life working 'plugged in' with bands, from his days with Mott The Hoople and throughout his solo career, Ian Hunter will arrive at the Wharf with his acoustic trio for a stripped down intimate show, the like of which he played at the Hippo a few years ago.
Widely revered as one of rock'n'roll's most compelling performers and articulate songwriters, he has penned such great anthems such as All the Way From Memphis, Once Bitten, Twice Shy and Cleveland Rocks, he is the voice of classic albums such as Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes and Mott as well as solo recordings You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic.
But he's never been one to rest on his laurels, having produced a series of relevant albums in the past decade, none more so than his latest, When I'm President, tracks from which will be performed in his Wharf set.
"I'm really proud of the record, and I think that some of it's as good as I get," he says of this, his 20th collection of original songs.
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"The songs seem to be more upbeat this time round," he continues.
"The last two albums were pretty political, just because I thought the Bush years were horrible, and thankfully that's passed.
"But I don't go looking for songs – I have to wait for them to come to me.
"I had a spurt there in the summer of 2011, and that grew into this album.
"I'd get up every day with something ringing in my head, so I'd try to catch it and get it down."
An evening in his company is one spent with rock'n'roll royalty and his live show at the Wharf is a thrilling prospect if his last appearance at the Hippo is anything to go by.
Such was the heartfelt delivery of his set, so poetic the lyrics and superb the musicianship, that he had no trouble at all winning around even those who were familiar with only a handful of his tunes.
Hailed as the UK's answer to Bob Dylan, Ian's style of delivery, even down to the phrasing and soft Anglo/American drawl was reminiscent of his Bobness.
But Ian, who is of similar vintage, seems to have worn considerably better and, now in his early 70s, is in exceptionally fine fettle, complete with trademark thick strawberry blonde curls and, of course, those omnipresent shades.
Ian Hunter hits the Wharf in Tavistock next Tuesday.