By Mark Ambrogi
Former Indianapolis Colts punter Hunter Smith understands his NFL career helped him generate some publicity early in his music career.
“We have a novel beginning in that I was a football player,” said the Zionsville resident, who played 10 years with the Colts and two years with Washington before retiring. “That was an interesting thing but in reality it’s also a hole to start in artistically. People can look at you and say ‘this is really a cute thing that this guy played football and he can sing. But is he really good?’ We’ve passed through the interesting stage onto ‘hey, this is really good stage.’ Now we’re entering in the year where we are really establishing ourselves as a really solid band based upon really good music and great performances and not propped up on the crutch of football or any other novel sort of angle.”
The Hunter Smith Band will perform at the inaugural Back Porch Revival concert Aug. 27 in Iowa City, Iowa. Blake Shelton is the headliner for that festival.
“It will be music festival with six different acts on the bill,” Smith said. “It’s a great opportunity for us. It’s will be the largest group we’ve had played for. The organizers were trying to put together some country (bands) but with a strong pop influence.
Smith, 38, said the band, whose second album “Story” was released in August, is increasingly playing more shows.
“This year will be culmination of a lot of hard work and some good music we produced,” Smith said. “We should have a very busy year once our touring season starts.”
The band will perform at Westfield Rocks the 4th on July 4 at Grand Park.
“As working independent musicians, we’re not terribly picky if there is an audience and a budget, we will typically book those kinds of things,” said Smith, who is married with four children. “We all have a lot of children. Our desire is not to hit the road and be gone 200 days a year and trying to be famous. Our desire is to be working musicians making a living and it’s working.”
Smith doesn’t like to label his band in one genre.
“I’d say our first album was rock country and this past album was country rock,” said Smith, laughing. “I’m not real sure what we are. We have influences from Johnny Cash to U2.”
While the ex-Notre Dame football player enjoyed his NFL career, music is his passion.
“I don’t know how long I’ll play music at a high level but I can assure you music will always be somehow a part of my life,” Smith said. “Football will be a memory and music will be a reality for the rest of my life.”