Thursday, August 3, 2000
Maybe she should have called it "Inspired by Bonnie Raitt." Recorded live at recent gigs at Liberty Hall and the Grand Emporium and Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Mo., area bluestress Kelley Hunt's recent "Inspiration" is jam-packed with songs that are straight outta Raitt's-ville. With a selection of new tunes that prove more bland than Bobby "Blue" Bland, Hunt sounds as inoffensive as she does uninspired. Stooping to all the usual live blues cliches throughout "Inspiration," Hunt leaves no hackneyed phrase or concept unturned. The tale of the salty, old blues maiden meeting the brash up-and-comer is dragged out on "Queen of the 88s." The sultry, sexy blues maven shtick makes a mandatory appearance on "Just Like Oxygen" and blues singer-as-preacher beats the pulpit on "Natural Thing." The CD's sole saving grace is provided courtesy of the blistering blues guitar of local hothand Miles Joseph. The guitarist's sharp blasts of social distortion provide much-welcome shelter from Hunt's musical storm. Unfortunately, the respite is usually an abbreviated one, and Joseph is rarely given the opportunity to stretch out for more than about 12 bars. Now, I know that endless guitar solos can be mind-numbing, but this is the blues! A 10-minute guitar solo is almost a prerequisite. Of course, this isn't Joseph's show, but the man gets down on the six-string and should be given an expanded forum to do his thing. "Inspiration" is to KC blues what the McRibb is to KC barbecue, and this collection of yawn-inducing live tracks proves to be nothing short of second Raitt.