photo courtesy Midwest Trust Center at Johnson County Community College
The Midwest Trust Center (MTC) at Johnson County Community College (JCCC) will serve up some of the best live music Kansas City has to offer during its two lawn concerts this summer. With the move to in-person events, the performing arts venue welcomes Kelley Hunt on August 20 and The Rainmakers on August 27.
Hunt Blends Roots, R&B and Soul
Kelley Hunt can hardly wait to perform in front of a live audience at JCCC. “I feel like it’s going to be a complete joy fest to see people’s faces, thank them in person and just have fun together!”
She’s also excited to play new material she worked on during the pandemic that will likely appear on an album to be released later this year.
Naturally personable and sincere, Hunt has done a fantastic job connecting with fans over the past year. She’s performed 50 Facebook Live concerts, taking requests prior to the event and hosting special guests. Working with talented local musicians, she also performed a virtual concert at the Gem and for a limited, socially distanced audience at the Folly.
After 16 months apart, Hunt and her touring band were back on the road in June. “Getting back with them is so exciting, I may spontaneously combust!” she laughs.
Hunt picks up right where she left off, performing soulful songs from her latest album, “The Beautiful Bones,” and five previous releases. Roots, R&B, Americana singer/songwriter, pianist and guitarist Hunt says her musical range comes from several sources.
“I bring a special approach from growing up right in the middle of the country in an arts-oriented family interested in all kinds of music,” she says. “I incorporate things that come naturally to me — blues, gospel music I heard growing up, R&B. There’s a bit of Americana from the storytelling, and with the piano, I incorporate a little New Orleans.”
But one of her most defining musical qualities can’t really be defined. “There’s a certain type of deep Kansas City groove other parts of the country know when they hear it but can’t replicate. It compels you to move in a grooving kind of way. Gets me every time.”
Connect with Hunt on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Rainmakers: ‘Like to leave them exhausted’
The Rainmakers are eager to again share their unique brand of Missouri rock ‘n’ roll live with fans. “A concert is an exchange,” says founder and leader Bob Walkenhorst. “People give you their time and attention; you don’t disrespect that. We like to take the crowd where they didn’t even know they wanted to go. And we like to leave them exhausted.”
The Kansas City-based Rainmakers have been exhausting audiences for more than 30 years. With rock ‘n’ roll influences like Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Creedence Clearwater Revival, their stage show doesn’t stop for a minute.
But it’s their clever lyrics fans appreciate and take home with them. When they started in the ’80s, The Rainmakers quickly realized life looked different from the middle of country. “We have a particular perspective on life,” says Walkenhorst. “Our songs, humor, social attitudes and even religious undercurrent give us something unique to say.”
–Susan Tolleson, JCCC Writer