Stephen Hunley Gets the Job Done on New Album

'Wait and See' is adult contemporary for teenagers

Con Hunley's designation as a country artist in the 1970s was a matter of circumstance and timing more than content. Before the '70s, blue-eyed soul piano balladeers like Hunley and late-period Charlie Rich might have been classified as pop; after the worst days of Nashville's schmaltz-drenched countrypolitan period, they would have been adult contemporary. So even though Stephen Hunley follows the same basic light R&B/pop-rock format as his uncle on his first album, there's nothing remotely country about it. Instead, he's operating approximately in the CW style of adult contemporary for teenagers—you know, the kinds of songs selected for One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl—with an edge of old-school Delbert McClinton R&B, especially on the horn- and organ-heavy "In an Instant" and "Do the Right Thing." (The mostly acoustic "Every Time I Hear Her Name" would fit prime time pretty well.) Hunley's voice is no match for his uncle's smoldering smoothness, but his straight, histrionic-free delivery gets the job done.