Before The Lights Go Out

Steve Hunter

Longtime Alice Cooper, Lou Reed axe man Steve Hunter might be struggling with failing eyesight, but he is playing better than ever. His 2017 release Before The Lights Go Out makes a rye comment on where this stunning electric guitar player is personally; but he is not going gently into that good night.

With the swampy strut of “On The Edge Of Uncertainly,” Hunter layers bright strong electric slicing with slide, while he uses an octave “doubler” on the sweet and floaty “Summer’s Eve” mixed with his clean bending. If anything is apparent-beyond how well Steve Hunter still plays — with this collection of 10 numbers, we hear loud and clear that he's still mining a deep vein of diversity.

Hunter works nylon-string expertise on the conga-backed “Tienes Mi Corazón (You Have My Heart)” and builds from sitar noodling to soaring slide scales, to acoustic strumming, then high-flying side noise on the expansive statement of “Under The Bodhi Tree.” Before The Lights Go Out ends with a quick run round Roy Rogers’ best known ditty “Happy Trails,” the only tune with vocals (provided by Karen Hunter). It’s just sweet, jazzy plucked chords from Hunter to perfectly cap off this stylish album.

A 45-year career playing solos on Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies album, acoustic guitar on Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill,” and the classic intros to Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane,” Steve Hunter possesses a master’s touch on the guitar and the ability to write songs. Before The Lights Go Out is startling solid guitar playing and craftsmanship from a veteran musician they call "The Deacon" with very good reason.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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