Hunt lets the instrument shape her syllables. From the first instant you know you’re in a place where there is no sense of time, where anything can happen and no one will ever have to admit to a thing.
Kelly Hunt sings with the lilting cadence of a folksinger born somewhere far away, sometime long ago.
As impressive as Hunt’s playing is her voice, recalling everyone from Dolly Parton to Norah Jones, but at the end of the day it’s pure Kelly Hunt. This is a most auspicious debut. From beginning to end there is reason to revel and rejoice. Banjo playing has never felt more refreshing and alive untied from the instruments traditional stylistic tendencies. Kelly Hunt creates a new tradition because her playing isn’t informed by any stylistic tendencies. ‘Even The Sparrow’ commands your attention, suggesting what we’ve heard is just the beginning.
A complete package that stands out by being true to itself.
Exceptionally good. The wistful soulful voice, the mellowness of the vintage calfskin tenor banjo, the frugality of the arrangements all combine to produce an album that is near perfect.”“Standing shoulder to shoulder with contemporaries like Gillian Welch and Rhiannon Giddens...folk music harking back to the stripped-down sounds of Leadbelly, Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie.”“There’s so much to discover here it’s pointless trying to convey it all in a short review. A joy from start to finish. Just go listen.
This one had its hooks in before its first play was through, then spent most of a day on repeat, revealing more and more facets...She pulls off that difficult thing of being part of a deep tradition while seemingly fully self-formed and original.
“Even the Sparrow” positions Hunt as an accomplished storyteller...through Hunt’s musicality and penchant for vibrant imagery, the album embraces modernity with unadulterated effervescence.
‘Even the Sparrow’ sounds to me like the kind of record that critics and devotees of this genre might make a small storm about...over the course of its twelve tracks it casts and re-casts its spell again and again and by the time the record has run its course its still but unerring is hard to shake. It’s utterly heartfelt and immediately authentic. A quiet but powerful album, that understands the power of the silence between the notes.
These songs and the lives they illuminate feel lived-in, inhabited by real folks…something tells me we’ll be hearing from her for a long time to come.
Folk wonderment...her music is aged beyond her years.
‘Even The Sparrow’ displays Hunt’s penchant for masterful storytelling and engaging arrangement, as researched and complex as they are memorable, punctuated by her articulate melodies and a well-enunciated and creative command of lyrical delivery infused with deft emotional communication.
We strongly suggest you really should keep your eye on this sparrow.
If you’re someone who thinks that all banjo focused music sounds the same, well, you haven’t heard Kelly Hunt, then. Not only is her voice unpredictable, it often changes in tone and is susceptible to gorgeous manipulation, and her depression era 2nd hand banjo emits a sound not quite like any other stringed instrument, making ‘Even The Sparrow’ a brilliant, mesmerizing experience.
[In] her stunning debut album, ‘Even the Sparrow...’ Hunt applies her haunting voice and evocative banjo playing to songs that build on the work of contemporary masters like Gillian Welch. Hunt is a vital young voice who promises to continue providing solace and inspiration for decades.
Whether it’s pulling listeners through one of the most painful — and normal — stories of lost love imaginable on the haunting ‘Across the Great Divide,’ or leading a gospel blowout like ‘Gloryland,’ Hunt’s voice draws in fans just as much as her banjo.
...the combination of Hunt’s exceptional voice and exquisitely spare instrumentation is stunning. ‘Even the Sparrow’ will likely be my favorite non-jazz album of the year by a Kansas City musician.