The Leon Hunt n-tet
As one reviewer once observed ‘being the best 5-string banjo player in the UK must be rather like being the fastest ‘fast-bowler’ in Virginia’. Leon Hunt has, for more than a decade, continued to confound that notion (and the many stereotypes that attempt to confine the 5-string banjo to Bluegrass music) by making his living playing alongside some of the world’s top musicians from a number of musical styles, backgrounds and disciplines.
Leon has taken part in several notable ‘transatlantic’ recordings; Miles Apart (2004), Shuttle Diplomacy (2008) and Fishing Music (2009). These projects have included some of the biggest names in American traditional music; Viktor Krauss, Tim O’Brien, Stuart Duncan, David Grier and Matt Flinner to name a few. Beyond proving his Bluegrass credentials, Leon has found himself in a diverse array of other musical settings; occasional live and/or recorded collaborations with Irish traditional music’s Michael McGoldrick and Flook, African Kora virtuoso, Sekou Kieta, Classical mandolin superstar, Caterina Lichtenberg and English Folk singer, Kate Rusby.
"n” is often used by mathematicians to denote a number that is liable to change and after playing with a varying number of musicians at different shows Leon Hunt used "n" to "sidestep all this confusion".
For his trip to Shetland, Leon is joined by Jason Titley, arguably the UK’s finest bluegrass guitarist who is a longtime on-off musical partner of Leon – including with the Daily Planet who performed in Shetland in 1996 and 2003. Multi-instumentalist Ben Somers joins them on vocals and bass as well as Joe Hymas on mandolin.
With their 2012 album Farewell Blues, Leon Hunt plays homage to his musical hero, Earl Scruggs with a dozen bluegrass favourites. In the wake of his passing in March 2012, the band heard of the death of another fine bluegrass picker, Doc Watson and Deep River Blues was quickly added just days before the album was recorded.