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Phoebe Hunt singing “I like to pick at my wounds until they bleed,” is your first indication that this is not your typical folk/roots album.
Those who have followed the fiddler/vocalist, once a member of the wonderfully eclectic The Belleville Outfit, know she is no stranger to coloring outside of genres. But this first studio set with her Gatherers band occasionally pushes boundaries even further. The album’s title (Shanti is Hunt’s real first name; it’s also a mantra chanted by yogis to promote peace in body, mind and spirit) attempts to connect these eleven songs with a spiritual thread alluded to in the lyrics.
Yet it’s the generally unplugged music featuring accordion and stand-up bass supporting Hunt’s sweet, mellifluous voice, somewhat similar to that of Norah Jones’, that finds its unique groove. From the offbeat, minor key jazzy strum of “Telephone” to the Appalachian, backwoods “Lint Head Gal” that finds the protagonist running away from a typical female role (“my hands are hard as any man’s/ my heart is even harder”) and the exquisite, string-enhanced ballad “Round and Round,” featuring a sweet musical conversation between Hunt’s fiddle and husband Dominick Leslie’s mandolin, there’s plenty of fertile ground covered here.