When I first heard Senie Hunt perform at WKXL radio, I turned around in my seat baffled as I motioned to my producer, AJ Kierstead, who was manning the command post behind the soundproof glass during a broadcast, mouthing the words, “What is this I’m seeing? What is this I’m hearing?”
AJ was trying his best to mouth back: “Percussive guitar, you big dummy!” but I couldn’t make out a thing he was saying. All I knew was this form of guitar playing was unknown to me. I had seen many finger tricks played before my eyes, but this jam Senie was playing must be a hoax.
“Where’s the tiny speaker hidden inside the guitar?” I wondered. I didn’t see him carry in anything but an AE500 and a strap. No lyric sheets. No wires. No miniature sound system. The music was just so layered in richness, in romance.
The tap and strum, that pluck and pick, all of it going off at once. It was hypnotic to me, soothing, like a chime, a repetitive force that slowly works its way inward. An unworldly talented young man with many world’s ahead of him to feast on. World’s he’s never seen. World’s he’s loved and lived in. World’s Senie hopes to return to someday.
Those who have seen Senie perform stand amazed at his guitar work, and that praise is worthy. Hunt, who lives in Concord and was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, possesses a voice that aches, rises, and beckons to be heard.
But, the truth is, Senie has outgrown us all. This happens. Some musicians in New Hampshire are simply meant to stay, to labor for us, to impassion us, to serve and create for the brotherhood, to stick around. Thank God. Senie is just not one of them. His talents are far too large to be contained. He’s that rare oyster, that “one of a kind” gift whose abilities are meant to be shared far and wide, to the coast and back, and beyond, across the ocean into new latitudes and longitudes, into the heads and hearts of strangers across this great land.
These moves take time. Good thing Senie has plenty of it.
And lucky for all, Senie is closing out the Summer Concert series at Memorial Field in Pembroke this Saturday at six. For the past five weeks duos and solo singer/songwriters have filled the air well beyond the stage, past the ball fields and dirt roads, jungle gyms and boat landing. It’s a phenomenal spot to listen to music, play hoops, cook a dog or two, cast a line or grab some grass and count the clouds.
A “jewel” as my boss Rose refers to Memorial Field. And she means it. And she’s right. At dusk, either with a light wind blowing or some sticky skin humidity hanging around, there’s something transformative about this park. The stage is large but confined. Perfect almost. The sound coming off that stage is flawless, always. I kid you not. Walker Smith, Jasmine Mann, Arthur James, Dean Harlem and the bluegrass duo Green Heron are built for this, that breeze, that level of openness, these are just some of the best voices you could ever possibly hear in this setting. And they pulled it off all summer long playing to a mere spattering of listeners as if the lawn was overrun with jeans and shorts and braided hair.
That’s how good they all are.
So, what I’m saying is, if you’re out and about, or need something to do for a couple hours this coming Saturday, Memorial Field in Pembroke is a fine place to visit. I’m telling you, Senie Hunt is in the clarity business. He will clear your mind, motivate your soul, help you move on from some bad mistakes or share with you in this wonderful sense of community.
I promise you will say, “Boy, I’m glad I did that.”
You can reach Rob Azevedo at firstname.lastname@example.org