I first started putting this piece together on a trip that began across the Atlantic. It was a trip straight out of the movies - you know the type: a road trip across America, a 12 hour drive from San Francisco to Seattle via Portland. The drive was a beauty and the setting, again, could have been on-set at a coming-of-age road film. The type of film I'm a guilty pleasure for. Mountains, hills, small towns and deep thoughts. It was fun, it was spending time with excellent people and it was unforgettable. It was only missing a soundtrack.
Across the last few weeks I've discovered the soundtrack I really could have done with. And the writers of the soundtrack? British rock band Hunter and the Bear.
Hunter and the Bear is a four-piece rock band with a big sound and an even bigger reputation. Their root lie far and wide, with their trip from Scotland to London via a Newcastle university like their own personal awakening, allowing the band to pick up members, inspiration and techniques that have been encapsulated in their current offering.
I hadn't heard of H&TB months ago. Traditional rock music isn't my go-to genre. But I appreciate something good. I appreciate the sounds of momentum and heart. I appreciate what Hunter and the Bear are. Hunter and the Bear are full of momentum and all heart.
They are music that is powered on human energy and raw emotion. Their latest single, out 9th September entitled 'Oh Daisy' is a tornado of passion. In these days of identical acts that we see populate the charts, 'Oh Daisy' is a refreshing splash of nostalgia-laden brilliance. It rings in the ears and sticks in the head but screams out to be cast as the song in a movie montage. The song that started a thousand cars and brought on countless flashbacks.
The four-piece London-based band isn't only known for its singles, but it's their live show and gutsy work ethic that seems to cut them from a different cloth.
Their skills were developed playing live shows, something that does come across in their music. It's huge and lead singer Will Irvine's voice is gravel-laden and full-throttle, suiting their stage style perfectly.
Don't just take my word for it. Hunter have supported Eric Clapton on his most recent UK arena tour, playing packed out venues on untested subjects and loyal fans. They're also regulars on the festival circuit, too.
The festival scene is such an important aspect of a band's evolution from small-time upstarts to rock royalty and although there's room to grow, Hunter are shooting for the moon. They've already called Reading and Leeds their home, arguably the biggest UK festival alongside Glastonbury, whilst they're also used to T in the Park and Car Fest. Their music deserves to be amplified. Literally and metaphorically.
Their extensive radio play across BBC platforms and championed by Radio 2's Bob Harris, the band seem to be making all the right noises at just the right time. I feel there's a real opportunity for British music to burst into life once more and it's a charge that Hunter and the Bear could lead with their authentic rock and country tunes.
Across the rest of the year, Hunter and the Bear are bringing out one song per month to lead up to their eagerly awaited new record, expected early 2017.
Following the rise of this quartet is going to be something to behold, with its current crop of both songs and fans more of a teaser to the future than a ceiling achieved in their past. The package this band offer is rarely found across the globe, but 2016 could be the year that the Hunter and the Bear flag is laid down for all to follow. Rock and Roll is alive and kicking. Hunter and the Bear are alive and kicking.