Local Wire

Jana Hunter

If "now" were the mid- to late 1960s, Jana Hunter's There's No Home would likely be released on the legendary ESP-Disk label. It was one of the most uncompromising American labels ever, and the New Weird America/Free Folk scene with which Hunter is identified has roots (at least in part) in ESP artists such as Tom Rapp & Pearls Before Swine, the Fugs, and Erica Pomerance. They took aspects of folk music, glazed them with hallucinogens, and affectionately turned them askew, as does Texan singer/songwriter/guitarist Hunter. She has a gentle, brooding, predominantly acoustic approach (a wee bit like Townes Van Zandt and Ramblin' Jack Elliot), borne by strummed, rolling chords and reveries adorned with distant, thundering drums and judiciously distorted or sighing electric guitar. Her languid, slightly blues-flavored voice (think Bobby Gentry, Lucinda Williams) isn't very high (or clear) in the mix, which melds perfectly into Home's overcast, fuzzy, Syd Barrett-like ambiance. Hunter's songs aren't git-go grabbers, but they tend to grow on you with repeated spins. The overall mood is primarily (and claustrophobically) pensive, recalling such cheery classics as John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band and Big Star's Sister Lovers, albeit with comforting undertones. If you need to retreat from the world on a particularly dreary day, There's No Home makes an ideal soundtrack.
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Mark Keresman