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Luanne Hunt and Nolan Porter steam up The Coffee Gallery  by Michelle Mills

Tucked away just before the hills in Altadena, Calif. is a little club inside a coffee house aptly dubbed The Coffee Gallery Backstage. I traveled out to this neat place to check out a delightful duo- Luanne Hunt, an Ontario area vocal coach, and Nolan Porter, a top musician from the '70s.

The lights dimmed and the keyboard tinkled with some jazzy pop sounds and Porter rolled out a couple of well-done covers, then Hunt warmly welcomed the crowd to the show. Hunt writes about life experiences and shares bits and pieces of stories in between the tunes, weaving a pleasant web to draw the audience closer until they change from fans to friends.

Luanne2.jpg (17166 bytes)Their first tune, "Facets," recognizes the circle of life. It is bittersweet, but very positive and thought-provoking and the duo's harmonies were a treat to the ears. They went on to present "Vessel of Light," a song written about a part of Vincent Van Gogh's life which is usually ignored, the time he spent as a pastor. The tune is very folksy and tells a good story.

Hunt and Porter also gave the crowd a few tunes from their musical on domestic violence, which recently served as a fund-raiser for the House of Ruth. Hunt showed her talent for acting and employed props to set the stage for the songs. She also has a terrific sense of comedy- Hunt traded quips with Porter and gave some spicy commentary on her partner's musical abilities to the crowd.

Porter took his moment too with a great little number, "King and Queen of Hollywood," about a homeless couple who always try to look their best when they stroll the streets. He also gave the audience a great jazz tune, "Hard Work," which perked everyone up.

If you need a mellow evening in a relaxed atmosphere, you should look up Hunt and Porter- they not only make beautiful music together- they have style!

The next act was 15-year-old Shayla , who is preparing to release an album in November with songs written by Luanne and Steve Hunt. Yes, the same warm, sweetly-voiced Luanne is sharing her talents with a promising student.

Shayla's tunes were a combination of pop, folk and country and she gave them out with a smile. Her song, "Christy," tells the story of a teen who feels she has lost her future due to an unplanned pregnancy and Shayla gave it just the right amount of emotion without sounding whiny or patronizing.Shayla.jpg (11499 bytes)

"I'm Holding Out For You" may be Shayla's ticket to stardom. This pop tune is catchy and fits her perfectly-- move over, Britney! Shayla's in the house. She also stays true to her beliefs and shares them without being preachy in the songs "Some" and "Open Up Your Heart." The two Christian numbers are well-written and Shayla delivers them with such a terrific voice that they could easily cross into the mainstream market.

Shayla is pretty to look at and pleasant to listen to, plus she carries herself with class. She's a refreshing change from all the young pop divas currently being shoved down our throats who are trying to make a statement through sex appeal. She has what it takes- I hope she gets the break she deserves.

Shayla will be holding a concert Nov. 18 at the Cornerstone Church in Ontario, Calif. to celebrate the release of "Open Up Your Heart." For more information on Shayla or Luanne Hunt and Nolan Porter, call (909) 923-5865.