On her way to the Dream Café is Kelley Hunt, an artist who was brought up in a hotbed of Jazz, gospel and blues music.
“Being from the Kansas City area – serious swingin’ jazz and blues stuff is going on,” she said. “A lot of memories from when I was a little bitty girl, my grandma sang gospel music and my mom sang kind of jazz music. My first memory of seeing my mom sing was in the church, and that was all gospel based. I didn’t have any verbiage for it at the time, but it made me feel good – I dug it.”
She says that musical environment knew no bounds between genres.
“There weren’t any lines drawn between those things – it was all full of music. So as a writer I don’t try to specifically try to write one way or another, I just let it rip.”
Even though Hunt grew up in a community so rich in gospel and blues, she says the styles aren’t noticeably different between Canada and the U.S.
“A lot of that roots-based music really draws from the same well.”
Songwriting has always come naturally for her – having understood music before she could speak, Hunt was able to begin playing music by ear from the age of three.
”I wanted to hear those sounds so I just went for it – it was a real organic process.”
Hunt, the pianist and lead singer, will be joined on stage by three partnering musicians, a guitarist, pianist and bassist. Their set will focus largely around Hunt’s latest album Beautiful Bones.
“I have different things to say now that I did when my first CD came out (in 1994), and hopefully I’ve grown in all those areas.”
The concept for the album “came from a lot of different places. Some of it has to do with observing what’s around me, and a lot of it isn’t about personal experience – but a lot of it’s just about what’s happening in the world and what the human experience is. Everything from A to Z.”
Beautiful Bones all-encompassingly demonstrates her progress as a musician.
“As a writer I feel like it’s my best work to date, not just as a songwriter but as an arranger, a singer and an instrumentalist.”
In sourcing inspiration for her writing, Hunt is attracted to ideas that unfold into stories, and delivering the messages bluntly.
“Getting straight to the heart of a matter.”
She promised that her audience is going to feel better leaving the Dream Café than when they arrived. She focuses on feeling a connection with each crowd, and gives them an outlet to understand her better as an artist.
“After every show I come out to the crowd for a meet and greet – I’m really glad that they make the effort to be there and I want to let them know that.”
Her show begins at 8 p.m. on Aug. 4, and it’s going to be her first-ever performance in Penticton. Tickets cost $34 and can be purchased by calling the Dream Café at 250-490-9012.