‘Retired’ soul man still going strong

Dayton-born, Atlanta-bred soul man Van Hunt is responsible for one of the best, most-slept-upon albums of the 2000s: On the Jungle Floor, from 2006, a forward-looking, musically eclectic affair that led to Hunt landing slots opening for everyone from the Roots and Mary J. Blige to, uh, Dave Matthews Band. But just when it looked like his career might take off, the industry happened. Hunt got shuffled to Blue Note by parent company EMI, which subsequently shelved a finished album, Popular, sending the musician into a deep tailspin that lasted for years. (His next proper album wouldn't surface until 2011.)

In 2017, nearly 10 years after its planned arrival, Blue Note finally released Popular to streaming services — not that Hunt viewed it in the same career-launching terms he might have previously. “I consider myself retired, to be honest,” he told the Los Angeles Times shortly after the record surfaced.

It's not the first time the musician has talked up retirement, but, like cheap tape, it hasn't quite stuck. Regardless, don't miss the rare chance to catch the soul shapeshifter before he really does decide that it's time to walk away from the industry for good.