Robert Hunter writes and sings the tale of his wife’s cancer
The reclusive rocker with an alt-country vibe who gave us the songs “Wasted and Sober,” and “Outta My Mind,” appeared destined, at the time, to will his way into the music industry with a plan and a purpose. “Afterglow” was a record that seemed to defy all the latest trends. His sound is gritty and authentic. It’s unique in this day of computerized instruments. And yet, perhaps not surprisingly, he managed to find an audience. Hunter then scored a hit with “Gone for Good.” It reached the FM bands and garnered over 100,000 views for the video — all while he claimed not to have, or want, any major label representation. We were all waiting for the tour and what came next?
Why? His wife Becky was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, just before the “Afterglow” album was set for release. Hunter said, it sent him sideways but also inspired him.
“She’s just the most loving, patient and kind girl I’ve ever known,” he said. “Life is so unfair. But Becky doesn’t see it that way. She never did. She says we’ve been chosen by God to endure this. I didn’t believe her at first. I spent a lot of time questioning everything. Those were the darkest days of my life.”
What brought him out of the darkness?
“She did!” he answered. “It’s strange because I was supposed to be the one trying to save her. But she was, all along, saving me. She told me not to give up, to keep writing and publish this crazy story I’ve been working on — ‘Relapse.’ And to make another record. Eventually, I had no choice but to listen. Becky was bald and promising me that everything was going to be OK.”
The couple has spent a considerable amount of time in recovery, focused on the road ahead. Hunter said that the only thing that mattered was the cure. The doctors have worked miracles. It’s a heartfelt story you have to hear to believe.
They’ve disappeared to the mountains several times, gotten lost on purpose, and gained a lot of perspective while getting back to basics in the Adirondack wilds. There Hunter finished the novel he said is, “Absolutely the most ludicrous thing you will ever read. But Becky endorses it.”
He got a publisher, finished the new record in Nashville — and there’s a whole new adventure about to unfold.
The nationwide “Relapse + revival” tour is about much more than promoting a book and a record. It’s a chance for the dynamic pair to see the whole country and have a grand adventure — just like Becky hoped for, when she was in treatment.
Becky is now in remission and the future is bright.
Come see Robert Hunter perform live at The Vermont Bookshop in Middlebury, on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 6:30 p.m. And meet Becky, the courageous and tenacious woman, who inspired “Relapse + revival” and everything after. Follow the couple @roberthuntermusic, and at relapseandrevival.com.
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