At a South Austin carnival, Phoebe Hunt lets her heart shine like bulbs lighting the midway. Persuading strangers to slow dance, traversing the fun house, and indulging on funnel cake, she sings, “Let the stillness in you clear the shadows in me/ Let me look through your eyes and see nothing but peace.”
In that lover’s waltz, gilded with stirring violin and mandolin, Hunt serenades love in the moment. “Just for Tonight” resounds as a moving plea for human connection unburdened by emotional practicality. The Austin-raised songwriter and violinist, also known for her work in the Belleville Outfit and Hunt Sisters, found inspiration in the forces of forgiveness.
“'Just for Tonight’ is about a new beginning, seeing today as the first day rather than holding onto all that has passed or what’s bound to happen,” she explains. “The song was written when I’d been through a trying experience. No matter what words I gave it, I felt like I couldn’t be fully understood by my partner. So I had to find true forgiveness from inside myself if we were to move forward with our life together.”
That’s whimsically illustrated in the jubilant video promoting “Just for Tonight.” The clip was spontaneously conceived by director Josh Holden as he and Hunt drove by the intermittent Ben White carnival last fall. Aided by mutual friend Cora Maeve, Hunt and Holden showed up with a camera and began filming.
“Then, I just started dancing with everyone," says Hunt.
Shanti’s Shadow, the transcendent new album by Phoebe Hunt & the Gatherers, deepens the singer’s roots into Americana songwriting and gypsy jazz. It also incorporates elements of Indian ragas she learned via recent tutelage under violin maestro Kala Ramnath. The LP arrives June 2, same day she plays the Paramount Theatre.
Directed by the Holden Brothers
Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.