Recording Collage

Images from all of the sessions in Port Townsend, WA and Garden City, ID

Studio Collage

First Row: (1) Conor Sisk, Everett Moran, Sperry Hunt, Joe Breskin
(2) David Grisman, Everett Moran (3) John Maxwell Everett Moran, Jon Parry
Second Row: (1) John Maxwell, Jon Parry, Bernie Reilly, Troy Ferguson
Third Row: John Maxwell, Sperry Hunt, Conor Sisk, Sperry Hunt
Forth Row: (1) Maria Mackey (2) Joe Breskin, Sperry Hunt (3) Granddaughters!

The Release of Story Songs

News Flash!!!!! The release date for the new album Story Songs is March 25, 2022. It will available for downloading and streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube Music, Pandora and other platforms (search Artist for “Sperry Hunt”). CDs may be purchased at HearNow.com. As a pre-sale introduction, you can download “The Poet of Santa Fe County,” the first song on the album, ABSOLUTELY FREE from March 18th-24th!

The New Cover Image

New Album Cover

Above is the new cover of the upcoming album. I say new cover because, though I loved the first cover, the distributor didn’t. It was too blurry apparently, though I didn’t think so. It was a wonderful picture of a friend of mine and me perched on a bolder at the age of five or six. Nevertheless the image above is every bit as interesting. I took the shot on my daily walk to work one winter morning in about 2014. In the fourteen years I walked that path I never saw anything close to these conditions. The clouds were thick and very low, as you can see. The “sun” you seem to see is not actually there. It’s actually hidden by some hills above the light. The light you see is light shining down a sort of light tube through the clouds. A seagull, or possibly an eagle, flies before it.

David Grisman’s Day in the CD Project

Six-time Grammy nominee and producer Everett Moran.

A humorous picture of David Grisman, mandolin virtuoso, and producer Everett Moran keeping their distance in Rainshadow Studio in Port Townsend. The photo was taken, I believe, by David’s wife and fellow musician and artist Tracy Grisman. This was September, 2020 – obviously in Covid days. I really appreciate everyone’s effort in the recording at this difficult time. David is a featured player on three song on the album Story Songs

Everett Moran

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Engineer/Producer Everett Moran

The photo above is of Everett Moran, owner of Rainshadow Recording Studio in Port Townsend. Everett is helping me record my upcoming CD. A Texas native, Everett spent much of his youth in Houston, my home town. His parents live not far from where I went to high school. His interesting path to becoming an audio engineer is chronicled in an article in the Port Townsend newspaper.

Rainshadow is a terrific studio. The acoustics of the studio itself are wonderfully warm and exquisitely fashioned. One of my greatest pleasures during the recording was just singing in the center of it and listening to my voice reverberating warmly.

Outside of his studio, Everett has been a freelance engineer, working all around the country including Denver, Austin and Tulsa, a city that has become special to him.  I’ll have more to say about Everett in the next few months as we continue to work on the CD.

“Texas Dick” a Partial Reading of the film Script

Before turning back to wring novels and songs, I wrote six film scripts which  include Texas Dick, Stealing Apollo, and Hello in There. All were represented. Two were optioned. None were produced. That’s show biz. But as Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Below is the script and video of a cold read of a portion of my Texas Dick script. In the scenario two men in floppy hats and tights have been found unconscious in the darkness along a remote West Texas highway.  The men awake at 1:00 AM believing that they are the Shakespearean characters the villainous Richard III and the pompous clown Sir John Falstaff from Henry IV.

To read and print the script pages click this link:  Texas Dick Cold Readers Performance

To watch the video click the image below:

Hans and Fritz, the screenplay

Sperry Hunt and Dr Hans Lehmann Seattle 1995 sm

Dr. Hans Lehmann and Sperry Hunt; Seattle, WA 3/5/1999

In 1995 I was commissioned to write a screenplay about Dr. Hans Lehmann’s experiences. The screenplay was never produced despite my and Hans’ efforts. I’ll write more about this later. In the meantime please click on the following to learn about what an interesting and generous couple Dr. Lehmann and his wife Thelma were.*

Lehmann, J. Hans (1911-1996), Ballard Hospital founder and arts patron

*Thanks to writer Walt Crowley and HistoryLink.org

Recording a new CD

 

Townes and Steve Earl

Townes Van Zandt (right) and Steve Earl

I’m working on a new CD to be recorded and mixed in my home studio this winter/spring. The songs are all acoustic. Some will be recorded with a single guitar in a single take. If I had to pick a genre for it, I would call it Texas Folk.

My musical taste vary wildly. I like most anything live if it’s done well. The music I favor tends to be rock, R&B, blues, some jazz and some country as well. The songs I’ve chosen for this CD are mine. They’re fingerpicked, many in the Travis-style. People I’ve played for in clubs say my songs are reminiscent of Townes Van Zandt’s. I take that as a great compliment, though it doesn’t surprise me.

Like Van Zandt, I grew up in Houston in the 50s.  As children we were both exposed to the same music: pop on KILT and the sensational blues and R&B on KYOK. I fell asleep to radio every night … and still do. I was barely in my teens when folk revival hit the airwaves. I saw Townes, Guy Clark and many others folk musicians at Houston’s Sand Mountain, a coffee house in the Montrose district.  I was absolutely floored by what I heard there. The folk themes and tonalities inhabit me still.

As with any fashion most folk songs were uninteresting.  Finally the weight of so many bouncy, mediocre pop-folk hits (and the thrill of the British Invasion) killed the movement – or rather pushed it into folk rock, and later country.  Many of the enduring folk songs were written and sung by those who raised their voices against social injustice and war. Others were purely personal.  Many of my favorites were dark road songs about people who longed for companionship but driven to wander alone. This was Townes Van Zandt’s milieu. To me, the best were

Pancho and Lefty
If I Needed You
To Live Is To Fly
For the Sake of the Song
Waitin’ Round to Die
Nine Pound Hammer

The tradition continued with other fine artists like Steve Earl, John Prine and the late Blaze Foley, to name a few.

My favorites are their story songs. On this CD will be some of mine: The Poet of Santa Fe County, Boys Town, The Door in the Dark, and Gulf of Mexico . To Life is my ballad to a dear old friend as he lay dying in Austin.  Like a Stone and Broken Not Beautiful are about the lifelong effects of early trauma. Call is a love song unanswered. Bueno the Roan is about trying to regain the happiness and friendship found in my youth among the mountains of northern New Mexico.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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My friend Clay Lindley, the funniest cowboy poet I ever met

clay-linley-and-other-cowboys-smaller

Leading the string of horses in this photograph is Clay Lindley: cowboy, poet, actor, comedian, husband, father and friend. I knew Clay only briefly. He passed in 2005. My friend Joanna Cowell, a leader of the Alpine drama community, recommended him as an actor for the Texas Dick trailer. (Click on image below to see trailer.) Clay was one of those rare celestial people who could instantly brightened a room with his warmth and humor. A true comedian, he produced humor from thin air, sometimes it was one’s own expense. I felt the sting of his wit, but it was always delivered with a gleam of laughter that made you like him even more.

I’ll write more about Clay and the trailer. Please click on the first link below to watch his performance.  He has the first lines 25 seconds into the trailer.  He’s talking to the sheriff of the fictional town of Little Bend, Texas about how – in the manner of a Shakespearean play – the planets are in alignment signaling a portentous event. Click on the image and the trailer will begin:

clay-lindley

Here’s more about Clay from his obituary:

Clayton M. Lindley was born on July 21, 1959 in Del Rio, Texas to Jane and Buster Lindley. He graduated from Silver City, N.M. High School, where he excelled as a swimmer. Clay graduated from Sul Ross University in Alpine, then followed his dream by cowboying in Montana. He later became a Range Specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Clay earned his nickname, Cletus, while working for NRCS in Spur, Texas.
Clay was a rare survivor of childhood leukemia and made it a point to enjoy everyday of his life. He possessed the ability to make everyone around him laugh and smile, and he loved doing it.
Cletus was called home on Thursday, September 1, 2005 following a battle with stomach cancer. Services were held at the First United Methodist Church in Mertzon, Texas on Monday, September 5, 2005. Burial was in the Sherwood Cemetery just down the road from Mertzon.
Pall bearers were Mark Donet, George Ramsey, Marty Donet, Charlie Donet, Robert Gibbons, and John Zeuberbuler.
Honorary pallbearers were Gil Prather, Donnie Franklin, Sonny Fry, Steve St. Clair and Bill Whitley.

Recording a Demo at Electric Wall Studios

Demo at Electric Wall Studios 3

Last Sunday I spent over four and a half hours recording a rough demo of twelve of my songs at Electric Wall Studios in Seattle’s Capital Hill district. I want to thank my friend and recording engineer Brendan  Mills-McCabe (shown above) for his skill and patience during the session. The shot on the right was taken from behind the microphones where I sat, facing the control room.

I haven’t heard the mix yet. But when I do, I will post one or two cuts. The purpose of the demo is to gauge how close I am to recording a CD, this winter perhaps.

Here’s a link to the commodious studios.

Electric Wall Studios

 

New Song – Bueno the Roan

Bueno the Roan2

Bueno the Roan
©2015 Sperry Hunt

1. The telephone rang deep in the night tearing me from my dream.
The earth was the sky and sky was the earth; nothing was as it seemed.
I looked at the number;
It was you again,
Calling your only friend,
When you’re near the end.
It’s what you do
When it’s them.

2. I remember as boys crossing the tracks at the reservoir.
We followed the creek through the woods to Bayou Noir.
We fished with the kids of the maids and the yardmen
Side by side.
Dreams of the riverside.
Boys of the riverside.
Boys you now decide
Are Them.

Chorus. Long ago we rode the hills of New Mexico
On Pablo, the paint, and Bueno, the roan –
Caught in the rains with only our ponchos for shelter
Deep in the trees two mountains from home.
Now you shelter behind the mighty walls of your fortress
Where everyone fears you and leaves you alone.
Let me take you back to the hills of New Mexico.
I will lead you home like Bueno the roan.

Continue reading

Twenty feet from the Kennedys

The Kennedys, Johnson and Stevenson

12/6/1962 Kennedy Foundation Dinner in the Hilton ballroom. Left to Right:U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, President Kennedy, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson

This is the story of how my father came to be twenty feet from President and Jackie Kennedy. Like all Southern stories, this one begins a while back. I’ll be brief.

My father’s father,Wilmer Sperry Hunt, came of age in the 1890s as the son of a doctor in poor little Ripley, Mississippi, where opportunities were scarce. When he was nineteen, Sperry, as my grandfather was called, was invited to Austin to live with his sister while he studied law at the University of Texas. After receiving his degree, he moved to Houston, opened a law office and married my grandmother, a bright, well-to-do girl named Lucy Brady, who once bragged to me that she had a (corseted) nineteen inch waist on the day of her wedding. Ouch.

Born in 1903, my father Wilmer Brady Hunt was the only boy of three children. By all accounts he grew up to be a funny young dandy who was as comfortable at a black-tie party as he was hunting and playing cards. In 1928 he too received his law degree from UT. He returned to Houston where he joined his father’s firm and married a lovely, artistic woman named Eugenia. Five years later, in the midst of the Depression, my father took over the firm, following Grandpa’s unexpected death. What I skipped over were the four years from 1921 to 1925 when Dad earned his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. My father took me to DC in early December of 1962. It was the only trip my father and I ever took alone.

Continue reading

Searching for an illustrator for The Inventors’ Daughter

Searching for an Illustrator

Searching for an Illustrator2

My two novels are finished, and I’m considering hiring an illustrator to create a few images to help me market them. I’m familiar with the argument that publishers choose illustrators from those they regularly work with. But my feeling is that if I show up with very fine illustrations that really tell, or should I say, show my story, the discussion will never occur.

So, how to find an artist who portrays my stories the way I see them?  Just looking above at six of the thousands of images I’ve examined, you can imagine how daunting the process can be. None of the illustrators seem like the one I’m looking for so far. My Inventors Daughter series lives between the middle grade and young adult genres. My main character and her best friend are young teenagers (13-16). Taken as a whole the novels are a coming of age story. They’re not graphic novels, but they have a graphic, even cinematic quality. The first is a gritty urban rescue story,  set partially underground, with a fantastic invention, a kidnapping, a train chase toward an unfinished bridge and Men with Bulldog tattoos. The second is a time machine/pirate epic with a bit of steampunk sandwiched in the middle. They’re science fiction/adventure stories for the kid who wants to feel older and the older person who wants to feel younger.

And so continues the search for an illustrator able to portray an earnest, brave young woman who, as the slug line states, saves her parents from the world and the world from their inventions.

A Song of Mine – The Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico -- Sperry Hunt

This is a true story from my high school days.

The Gulf of Mexico
©2015 Sperry Hunt
1. The sun was in our eyes.
We couldn’t see the end.
You were my girl.
He was my friend.
I glanced away,
Dreamers do.
You waited for me.
He waited for you.

Chorus. Some dreams take you over.
Some dreams take you under.
Some just drag you where they go.
Some live in the heart forever.
Some change like the weather.
This dream drowned in the Gulf of Mexico

2. You called to me.
I did not come.
I didn’t even know.
What I had done.
I broke your heart,
Like dreamers do.
I didn’t even care,
I broke it in two.

Chorus

3. You turned to him.
He said let’s wait.
You were my girl.
He was my mate.
He left you there.
Said he really should go,
But he would return from
The Gulf of Mexico.

Chorus