Monday, January 28, 2013

Ian Hunter set to play the Coach House

Last September, Ian Hunter released When I'm President (Slim Style), his first studio album in three years with The Rant Band. But other than the title track, where the veteran Brit sings "I'm gonna lean on the 1%," "I wanna 28th amendment" and "I'll stick it to the fat cats," this isn't really a politically-themed release.

It was co-produced by Hunter and Andy York (John Mellencamp) and recorded in less than a week, with vocals done mostly live. The solid album has some rip-roarin' rockers like "What For" (and its subtle nod to Jerry Lee Lewis) and fun opener "Comfortable" (as in "why don't we slip into something more..."), complete with sax blasts by longtime Billy Joel band member Mark Rivera.

Intriguingly, a couple songs were inspired by the Civil War ("Saint," "Ta Shunka Witco," a haunting, nearly six-minute tune about the Crazy Horse saga), while standout "Fatally Flawed" and "Life" have a Dylan-esque wistfulness.

The latter tune proves that even at 73, the erstwhile Mott the Hoople singer still has a knack for memorable lyrics. Here, he sings about not sweating the small stuff: "The things you do when you get high/Did you blow it on MySpace/Did you twitter when you was clean outta your face/Well laugh, because it's only life."

Elsewhere, "Saint" is simple, but fun, "Wild Bunch" ends in the style of an old folk singalong and the mid-tempo number "Just the Way You Look Tonight" - the highlight - is colored by mandolin, dulcimer and harmonium and finds Hunter name checking "West Side Story" and actress Julie Christie.

Ian Hunter & The Rant Band play the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, with opener Waldo Bliss on Jan. 30. 8 p.m. $25.,

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