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Dream fulfilled: Paul Hunton’s Dust City Opera celebrates album release

Paul Hunton has a long history with music.

His latest journey began in early 2018 with the band Dust City Opera.

Since then, the band has worked tirelessly to get its name out.

It has performed many shows around town, including an opening slot during last year’s Downtown Summerfest concert with The Robert Randolph Family Band.

On Saturday, March 2, Hunton and Dust City Opera will release the band’s first album, “Heaven.”

“It’s been great with this band,” Hunton says. “I’ve been building my repertoire for 16 years or something. There have been a couple false starts with albums, and I didn’t feel equipped to put it out. Working as a side for years, I earned the right to ask people to play with me and bring it to life. It’s finally happening, and I’m excited about it.”

Rounding out Dust City Opera are Jared Putnam, Travis Rourk, Clara Byom, Greg Williams and Justin McLauchlin.

The band is quickly being recognized for its folk-rock sound, with instruments including trombone, accordion, trumpet and keyboards.

The band spent six days in the studio over the past month and a half finishing the album.

“Some songs are 15 years old or so, and some were written last month,” he says. “It’s a collection of time. The band has been learning them over the course of the last year.”

Hunton is the lead songwriter, and he’s been writing with the band in mind lately.

“It’s awesome because people pay attention when you have a trombone in your band,” he says. “I still write on my own, for the most part, though there are three songs that I’ve written since we’ve been together. I get some ideas with them and go back and write parts for each person. The songs also feel more mature to me than my previous songs. The band is able to round out the sound.”

For Hunton, music has always been a constant in his life, although he has had some forays into acting.

“Music has always come back to me,” he says. “I started off with playing jazz and classical guitar and then moving through voice programs. My goal was always to get enough confidence to be capable of being the guy in the middle of it. I’m finally there, and it feels awesome to be surrounded with some amazing players who are helping make it happen.”

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