It would be worth heading to Sunday's Mountain Stage show just to hear the difference between James Hunter the singer and James Hunter the guy just talking about singing.
Yeah, there's the same gravelly quality in both. But Hunter the singer could have been plucked right out of the southern United States soul and bluesy tradition.
The other Hunter, the one talking on the phone about his upcoming gig, is straight out of Colchester in Essex, England, where he was born.
"Well, it would be a little incongruous to sing it like Michael Caine," he explained with a raspy laugh.
Fortunately, Hunter the bluesman doesn't sound affected when he sings, but as though he were born to it. Touring in support of "Minute by Minute," his first album recorded in the United States, the 51-year-old also for the first time is drawing his longtime band into the name - The James Hunter Six.
"We wanted a proper band name so we sounded like a unit," Hunter said. "When you use just a bloke's name, it could be a fellow sitting up there with an acoustic guitar."
Sitting around with band members Lee Badau (baritone sax), Damian Hand (tenor sax), Jonathan Lee (drums), Jason Wilson (double bass) and keyboardists Kyle Koehler and Andrew Kingslow, trying to figure out a name, the guys went for simple and to the point.
Hunter said with a few variations, this lineup has been together going on 20 years.
"We've never fallen out," he said and then added, laughing, "We never really liked each other in the first place."
Hunter's family was working class, and he said neither parent was musical. He and his older brother gravitated to music somehow, though, and Hunter loved old-time rock and blues.
He got his first break in the 1990s when Van Morrison saw him performing in Wales and hired him as a backup singer. But by his early 40s, Hunter was back on his own and struggling mightily.
He says he didn't give up on music, but rather, "It gave up on me temporarily. I did have to do a bit of laboring for a while," he said. Things eventually turned around, and in 2006, "People Gonna Talk" was released in the United States to strong reviews.