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Life & Work with Hunter Skeens

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hunter Skeens.  

Hunter, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
When I was 10, one of my dad’s best friends Steve Crawford, gifted me an electric guitar I learned the typical “Smoke on the water” or the “forbidden riffs” on guitar… after that I never picked it up till I was 15 and a half. That’s when a friend Julio gave me my first acoustic, never touched it till a year later when I was 16 when it kind of clicked. Just picked it up one day and didn’t stop, had some kind of natural motivation to do it and no weird excuses or habits got in the way. So, a year into it I was really into the blues and playing what I felt was great! But I stumbled across a video on the internet that was a very early video called “Dust in a Baggie” by Billy strings… this… this was a MASSIVE life changer and saver for me. As I tried to mimic that “bluegrass sound” of his guitar, it put me in a GIANT rabbit hole of trying to study bluegrass. My Spotify playlist consists of 700hrs of just bluegrass and have 7 books related to the topic… so this took a toll on me. So now 3 years later I come down to dellroy to jam with a banjo player that used to date my mom when I was 7… long story short they started dating again. But there just so happen to be a party down the road with live music so my mom’s ex, the banjo player said we should go. It was Dawn Carnes birthday party; they apparently knew me back in the day but I didn’t know them. When My mom’s ex said “you should go ask the guy on stage if you could play a couple songs” (this was Chris Ferrell) so I said OK! Went up to Chris and said “Hey! I got my guitar in the back of my car could I play a few songs” Chris says “Yeah! If you have the balls!” So, I go get my guitar explaining to him as I’m going on stage that I’ve never done anything like this and this was my first time on stage! Chris said. “You’ll kill it” so he let me have at it for an hour as I tried to go through all the songs I knew by heart, then me and Chris jammed on stage. That’s when I met Jim Carnes (Dawn’s husband). He saw potential and absolutely skyrocketed my career. Now I’m with my band called “Hunter Skeens and His Forerunners”, playing mostly bars but now getting into festivals and trying to work on a record! I’ve been playing guitar for 4 years now and now I’ve been trying to be the mandolin player instead since there’s too many guitar players, next will be banjo! Just trying to expand my genres, and connections and perfect my ability to play anything! 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The music seems as smooth as it I think it could be. Mental health not so much, I NEVER talk about this at all so it’s a sensitive topic. But depression took a toll on me and ended up in a psychiatric hospital as a result of suicidal tension. This was 2 years ago, haven’t went back since but still go to therapy. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a musician! I specialize in the bluegrass, I pick guitar and mandolin, and I also sing. I am known for being a young bluegrass player, or being “the prince of bluegrass”. I am most proud of the music I play in general… I don’t want this genre to be unappreciated! What sets me apart from others is I have an old sole, or at least I’ve been told and that expands to the musical aspect as well. 

What does success mean to you?
Success should be based on your personal goals and not defined or shaped by someone else’s perspective. Set the bar to how high you want it but by keeping it realistic to your capabilities… and anyone is capable of anything. Don’t let people fool you or influence you towards what they think is successful, if you achieve that then you’re set. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Steve Crawford
David Hamrick
Lori Feist
Dj Buell Julio
Jim Carnes
David Mayfield
Steve Skeens

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