When: Fri., May 13, 8 p.m. 2016
British soul singer James Hunter knows exactly what he wants, and he’s again nailed that sweet spot on the new Hold On! (Daptone), the second album he’s made under the direction of Dap-Kings capo Gabriel Roth. Hunter writes all of his own material, though little of it sounds like it’s from this decade—or any of the previous four, for that matter—and he’s expertly supported by a nimble, pitch-perfect band. His love for Sam Cooke remains undiminished, but he also finds room to salute Ray Charles (“Something’s Calling”) and Curtis Mayfield (“In the Dark”), while his guitar playing offers a page ripped straight from the Freddie King playbook (“Satchel Foot”). Hunter may be a simulacrum of those artists, but I still find him hard to resist thanks to his band’s light touch and keen sense of dynamics, his raspy and nuanced howl, and his melodies, which feel as if they’ve always been wafting through my consciousness.