Photo credit Louis Quattrini
It has been a while since my sit down interview with Nathan Hunt, the amazingly talents voice of Shaman’s Harvest, but I was waiting for the ending of the story to write itself and it was well worth it. It was a pretty warm day and I wandered up to the Hard Rock Café in Orlando, Florida. I was a bit early arriving. To his credit, Dave Barberick, their tour manager extraordinaire, was kind enough to keep me company since he was grabbing a bite to eat. I felt like this is important to mention because that kind of hospitality is what I experienced from everyone associated with this band. They’ve had a rough couple of years and yet they are all just, as Nathen says, “a Mah-zoo-rah band which is right smack dab in the middle of America or the United States I guess, America is a big place” or as I call it Missouri. We have a saying in the South US that there are “good people”. They are certainly that. You can’t help but get swept up in his middle America country boy charm. He doesn’t meet a stranger, something we have in common, and is immediately likeable.
Nathan is a twenty-year veteran of the music business. This day and age, that’s impressive, but it hasn’t come without it’s greater than normal challenges. While “smack dab in the middle of making a record” (Smokin’ Hearts and Broken Guns in 2014,) Nathan began experiencing a recurring and very painful sore throat. He admits he is very lucky that he was a vocalist. When the pain began interfering with his recording sessions, he sought medical treatment. He was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of lymphatic cancer. He was fortunate enough that treatment was early and successful. With the album to focus on and the “great writing because of it”, today he is cancer free. He credits his great team of oncologists for this victory. Just as with any recovery, he sought out assistance from a professional vocal coach to get himself back in the game. “ I had to re-invent a lot of this, I had to restart from my life stand point,, from the band stand point, our sound kind of changed a little bit and became a little more melodic. It was really focused because everything was focused on making the record.” It has paid off well his vocals are tight and soulful.
They have played main stage at Rocklahoma and they are pretty proud of that accomplishment. “Yeah we are mid-west boys so that is THE mid-west festival. Lot of our kind of people there. We commiserated about Rocklahoma with the previous years’ weather, and how it feels like family. They have been touring nearly non-stop in support of the album.
While on tour with In This Moment, and Hell Yeah as part of the “Hell Pop Tour”, they played to sold out shows nearly every night. “I get to watch legendary musicians play every night and In This Moment is pretty cool because we don’t typically get to see that kind of production. We’re just kind of dirty rock and roll. When they get up there, it’s like holy cow a rock opera. It’s bad ass.”
“What’s next for us? We need to make some more music. Best thing about being on tour is meeting the people you make the music for. Getting to know what they like about what you do, so you can refine that.” He doesn’t care for food on the road though, or the day in day out, venue to venue stops. “Same songs done every night but all you see is the venue. You don’t get to get out. No roller coasters for me “(referring to the proximity to Universal Studios) “I’m a little hung over anyway. I don’t think I’d handle it too well.
Maybe I met a few too many people last night. ” He enjoys the fan interaction and mentioned it several times. “Telling stories about how it effects their lives. “We also agreed that music can be like religion, but people don’t go to war over it. “Like rock and roll church. We ain’t trying to be the one that’s worshipped but we like to participate in the positive change.“
“Life is good. I’ve got not complaints. None of us do. (The song) In Chains was at #11. So close to top ten but one station dropped it for political reasons”, two spins short.
“What’s funny is when it came off the charts at 26 weeks, it was moved to the recurring chart where it hit number 2.”
“On the new album; the sound will definitely change. It will piss some people off, but then some others will be happy. Just like everyone else we like to evolve. I imagine it will be a little more vintage probably.” We agreed that 80’s without the Aqua net might be a good hint. “ Maybe even some vintage recordings with reel to reel. “
Most recently they have toured with Black Stone Cherry, putting their album on hold in anticipation of the European leg of the tour, declining some summer dates to come back to finish the new album. The European trip was later cancelled and they have been finishing the final tracks instead. Their karma is continuing though as, since they were available, they are now going on tour as direct support for Nickelback, the band people love to hate. Truth is, there may be outspoken people who don’t care for Nickelback, but they still sell out. Now Shaman’s Harvest will once again be out in full force, performing for sold out crowds. 2017 looks to be a great year for them.