Hard rockers, Shaman’s Harvest have been kickin’ up dust on the Midwest music scene for 15 years. The band has self-released four studio albums that have marked the progress of a group finding its voice and signature. With 2009’s album, Shine, the band finally found its groove, and this summer’s release of the band’s major label debut, Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns is going to take the boys far beyond their Missouri roots. This week, vocalist Nathan Hunt spoke with Metalholic and AXS Entertainment about the new record, his battle with cancer, and good ole fashion songwriting.
Hunt founded Shaman’s Harvest with bassist Matt Fisher and guitarist Josh Hamler back in the late 90s, and the trio remains the heart of the band to this day. The members all grew up together sharing dreams, and becoming men in the heartland of the U.S.A.: As Hunt shares:
“Living in Missouri is awesome. There’s a beauty in the grit of us Midwesterners. We work hard, make babies, drink too damn much, and we’re not afraid to rebuild and start over when we get God-smacked. We have an art community all our own, inspired by wind in the wheat fields, and summer morning haze off the rivers and streams. If shit is broke we either fix it ourselves, or put it up on blocks for yard art.”
As the band began recording Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns, Hunt was diagnosed with throat cancer. He reveals:
“I immersed myself in this record, committed to not missing a day. I didn’t know if it was gonna be my last record so it was treatment, then studio, then some days back for more treatment. Everyone deals with cancer differently. There was a period I felt alone and a couple tracks speak to that directly and other times I felt overwhelming love for my mates and people who were there for me. I was lucky enough to be recording during it and it’s all there.”
The band’s breakout began with its previous effort, Shine which featured the hit “Dragonfly.” The song rose to number #16 on Billboard’s Active Rock chart and #9 at Heritage Rock, selling over 150,000 singles and tens of thousands of albums. To date, the video has been viewed 2.3 million times on YouTube. Additionally, the composition was featured on the soundtrack of the major motion picture Legendary. In 2010, Shaman’s Harvest recorded “Broken Dreams” for the WWE as the theme song for wrestler Drew McIntyre, and cut the track “End of Days” as the entrance track for Wade Barrett and The Corre.
With Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns, Shaman’s Harvest digs deeper into its dark emotional recesses and delivers an album of well-crafted and addictive songs which blend straight up modern hard rock with some vintage rock flavors, some grunge shades, a classic southern vibe, and even some alt country edge. Like some of rock’s best albums, Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns showcases fantastic diversity and begs for repeated listening from the opening track to the final cut; an acoustic rendition of “Dragonfly”. Offered Hunt:
“Whether they’re driving down the highway, at work, or doin’ the nasty, these songs should be the soundtrack. I think people will accept the diversity from song to song whether it’s a riff rock vibe like ‘Here It Comes’ or it’s a darker, emotional anthem such as ‘Ten Million Voices’ without categorizing Shaman’s.”
The new record captures the band’s various personalities, from the riff and roll rocker “Dangerous”, to the swampy groove of “Blood in the Water”, to the emotive “In the End”, to the self-deprecating romp of “Country as F**k. “I think people just like to say the word f**k,” laughs Hunt, of the latter track. The band even slips in a sleazy take on Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana”.
Shaman’s Harvest has delivered one of the best hard rock records of 2014. Check out our interview with Nate Hunt of Shaman’s Harvest below, as well as the lyric video to “Dangerous”, and learn more about the band here.