Jana Hunter was sure that the turn of the century would bring the apocalypse, that Y2K would spell the end for mankind. But, she told herself at the time, should life go on, she would secretly install speakers throughout Houston, Texas that would play her all-time favorite CD: a collection of Greek Byzantine liturgical songs called Hymns to the Holy Mother of God.Perhaps, she thought, the music could open folks' eyes and inspire them to celebrate all they have, and the new century. Hunter, who grew up in Arlington, Texas, never quite followed through on her mission. But, in a roundabout way, she still got—and continues to get—her message across. And just as intended, the ghostly hymns—this time Hunter's—resonate from a secret, obscured place in the distance, at least it feels that way.
Hunter's dreary, dreamy folk songs—the newest of which appear on her second album, called There's No Home—feel so weightless and otherworldly, one forgets it was a human from which they came. Accompanied by a collective of gentle musicians (guitarists, bassists, lap steel players, pianists, and more), Hunter bemoans above haunting, deceptively simple arrangements, catching listeners off guard with a sadness they didn't expect to feel.
Hunter is often pointed out for her collaboration with Devendra Banhart, and for being signed to his label, Gnomonsong. Banhart included Hunter on his Golden Apples of the Sun compilation and made her solo debut album, Blank Unstaring Heirs of Doom, Gnomonsong's first ever release in 2005. Hunter and Banhart also released a split vinyl album on Troubleman Records in 2005.
Hunter grew up playing classical music, mostly on the violin. As a teenager, she began writing depressed songs that somehow find the light; folk-y songs that seem rock or pop on the surface, but with repeated listens reveal classical music's intricacy and emotional depth. With song titles like "Psalms," "Babies," "Bird," and "Sleep," There's No Home—whose lyrics are barely audible—explores life's most basic needs: faith, love, freedom, and rest. And by acknowledging that there is still life to live, Hunter celebrates them all.