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Blacksmoke recording artist, Lonnie Hunter, continues to savor a sweet comeback with his latest CD, “I’m Back.”

The veteran choirmaster and nationally syndicated radio host came back strong a few months ago with the rousing track, “I’m Back”, which peaked at #15 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart. Now, the Chicago native (living in the Philadelphia area where he tapes his daily, nationally syndicated, four-hour, “The Lonnie Hunter Show”, on the Radio One network) is at it again with a soulful springtime song of gratitude,  “Anyway.” The song has shot up to #20 on the Mediabase National Gospel Radio Airplay chart that is published in USA Today every Tuesday.

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The live track is crafted in a slick, soulful `70s vibe akin to slow jams by The Emotions and The Soul Children. As it opens, Hunter employs the spoken word rap style of Isaac Hayes’ first hits and says, “Grace is when you get more than you deserve. Mercy is when you don’t get exactly what you do deserve,” to scattered handclaps of agreement from the congregation gathered at Philadelphia’s Sharon Baptist Church. Then, Hunter’s choir Structure begins to seamlessly sing the tones of “don’t deserve it, so unworthy. Still, you bless me anyway.” They crescendo with,  “So sorry, I’ve fallen short of Your word,” as Hunter sings the redemptive lines of the song to the audible delight of the audience.

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“This song is so huge because it’s everybody’s testimony,” Hunter says. When you think of the words: I don’t deserve it, so unworthy but still You blessed me anyway. Who does not have that testimony? We do what we want to do and we say what we want to say and we still ask God for forgiveness. We still ask God to bless us. We still want God to cover us and what does He do? He blesses us anyway.”

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The youngest of five children, Hunter was raised around Chicago’s gospel music community as his mother sang background for a variety of gospel artists. She died when he was eight years old and he vowed to fulfill her musical ambitions. Aside from a dual career in the public relations field and a three-year stint as a runway and print model, music has always been Hunter’s first love. He was a soloist for the U.S. Air Force Jazz Band and a celebrated gospel choir conductor. He’s best known for his work with the Voices of St. Mark Choir where he produced three CDs for Malaco Records resulting in the hits “Even Me” (The Drip Drop Song)”, “Let’s Dance” and “There’s Power In His Name”. He began his radio career with Chicago’s #1 WGCI gospel radio station before Radio One tapped him as a midday host for the syndicated, “The Lonnie Hunter Show,” that airs across the country.

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