Steve Charles—Readers of Wabash Magazine may remember singer/songwriter/pianist Leslie Hunt, who graced the cover of our “Daughters” issue in the fall of 2007.

The daughter of Steve Hunt ’76 had been a semifinalist on the 2007 edition of Fox TV’s “American Idol,” and I traveled to Chicago a couple times that summer to interview both Leslie and her dad and attend the CD release party for Steve’s own band, all for a story about both of them that we called “American Idyll.”

Leslie just released her second CD since those interviews with the attention grabbing title, “Your Hair is on Fire”and appeared on Chicago’s TV-7 last week performing the CD’s single, “American Dream Man.”
“The product of passion and tragedy” is how Leslie’s Web site describes the work, a phrase that’s also a good description of Leslie’s last two years. Hardly an idyll. Leslie’s sister, Steve’s daughter, Lauren, died in 2008. But Leslie also found love, got married, and has a baby girl due in early September.
Chicago Tribune writer Jonathan Bullington says that Leslie “maintains her balance through music, and her new CD is evidence of that. Part dark and moody, part light and poppy, the album serves as the audio diary of a life set to sound.”
You can hear tracks from the CD here.
Steve was kind enough to let us know about the CD’s release.
“It has been two years in the making, and it is exciting to finally have it available,” Steve said. He notes that the video of “American Dream Man,” which you can view for free at Leslie’s Web site, “is a hoot.”
When I interviewed father and daughter two summers ago, I asked Steve how he felt about his Leslie trying to make it in the long-odds business of music—a world he steered clear of, even as an incredibly talented drummer, choosing instead to support himself and his family through a construction business while playing with friends only the music he really enjoyed playing.
 
Leslie spoke up first.
“I think it’s great that you never have to take gigs because your bills depend on it,” she said as the three of us sat outside of a Chicago restaurant the night of Steve’s CD release party. “You play only the music you love to play.”
But Steve clearly respected Leslie’s decision, too.
“If she can do what she loves and really make a living at it, wouldn’t that be great?”
And so it is.
 
Read about Leslie in the Chicago Tribune here.

Read "American Idyll" here.

Photos of Steve and Leslie Hunt by Mark Lind