After the Virginia bars and The Voice, Huntley comes to the Pioneer

By on February 1, 2024

Huntley at the Pioneer Theater. (Photos by Lauren Cowart)
Huntley at the Pioneer Theater. (Photos by Lauren Cowart)
Huntley at the Pioneer Theater. (Photos by Lauren Cowart)
Huntley at the Pioneer Theater. (Photos by Lauren Cowart)
Huntley's parlor session at Manteo House on Friday night. (Photos by Lauren Cowart)
previous arrow
next arrow

Many contestants on The Voice go on the show to figure out who they are as artists. But after spending a weekend with Huntley for two sold out shows at the Pioneer Theater on Jan. 26 and 27, followed by two intimate parlor sessions at Manteo House, it’s clear that Huntley knows exactly who he is. He’s a blues and rock singer songwriter who’s been hustling and grinding and betting on a dream for two decades.

In his debut single, he sings, “You can take all my pennies till’ my pockets they run dry, you can starve the soul inside me, you can leave me high and die, I’ve had my ups, I’ve had my downs, I’ve been kicked and knocked around. There ain’t nothin’ that the Devil can throw, I’ll keep pushin’ till the wheels fall off, I’m holdin’ on.”

After trying out for American Idol and The Voice numerous times, going to Nashville and returning home, and playing his songs in the corner of bars in Virginia where people were more interested in chatting with each other than listening to his music, Huntley started to think maybe a music career wasn’t in the cards for him.

“I was literally about to become a substitute teacher,” said Huntley (who does not use his first name Michael), adding that he had just signed the papers to become a teacher and was sitting down for spaghetti dinner with his daughter when he got the call from the Voice. “It gives me chills even talking about it.”

He went on to be the second fastest four-chair turn contestant in the history of the show. Now that he’s won, he’s grateful to The Voice, but it doesn’t define him. Notably leaving out most of the songs he sang on the show, Huntley stuck to originals and covers that showcased his more soulful side, with bluesy renditions of “Does That Make Me Crazy,” by Gnarles Barkley, a broken down version of “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty, and classic Southern blues rock songs like “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers Band, “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band, and “Pride and Joy” by Stevie Ray Vaughan.

On Friday night, his rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” had the small dance floor below the stage filled with couples slow dancing in each other’s arms.

Huntley confessed at the parlor session Friday night—while politely turning down requests for some of the most popular songs he sang on the Voice—that most of the mainstream rock and roll songs he was known for singing on the Voice were chosen for him and that most of them were songs he had never heard before. When presented with some of those songs, including Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive,” (a popular karaoke song), he worried the audience might not see who he was as an artist. But he trusted that his coach and producers knew what they were doing.

“And the majority of people in America got what I was doing. And I mean, even with the diversity that I showed tonight, it shows that I do a lot more than just like rock and roll, and a lot more than just, you know, ‘Dead or Alive,’” he said.

The man who taught Huntley to play guitar when he was young drove all the way down from Virginia to attend Huntley’s show at the Pioneer Theater. At the parlor sessions, Huntley told him that for his “Talks to Angels” performance on the Voice, he had dedicated the song to his mentor’s son who had passed away—a part that had been cut out of the show.

“I think that America is looking for authentic people and, you know, authentic music,” he said.

For Huntley, a big part of that authenticity is representing his Fredericksburg Virginia roots, and that meant bringing his long-time friends and bandmates along for the ride to the Outer Banks.

His backup band included Jason Ross on lead guitar, Tyler Rose on bass and Ian Lafferty on percussion, all incredibly skilled musicians in their own right who brought their own talent and electricity to the stage. Huntley, who’s known each of them for years and brought them together after coming home from winning The Voice, lovingly referred to them as his “Blue Ridge Boys,” to the audience. Even his photographer, security, and manager are his good friends from home.

“I’m keeping it as local as possible,” he told the audience at the Pioneer on Friday night, later telling the Voice that he plans on bringing the band members along for as much of the ride as possible, reflecting on the fact that it’s just hitting him that the Pioneer Theater might be his last show in a small, intimate setting.

“It’s just really hitting home just how different things are now and I really appreciate you guys coming to listen to my music,” he said. It is clear that Huntley is relishing these final moments of relative calm before the storm—before his album gets released and more money, more fame, bigger arenas and larger audiences become part of his life.

“I was raised by a single mother, and we used to bond watching the Andy Griffith Show,” Huntley told the audience on Friday. “I just got chills saying that. It’s just funny because this opportunity has been really amazing. I just went and sang the anthem for the Buccaneers and the Eagles [NFL playoff game], but you know all of these opportunities and full circle moments…I’m always gonna be my weird authentic self.”

With his raspy crooning voice, Huntley gets likened to artists like Christ Stapleton and Joe Cocker, but he has his own style and his own message.

“I think that I just have a really cool message to show…that you can be down to earth, and you know, as a guy, as a man, we can be vulnerable and strong at the same time.”


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


Sussex Development is soliciting bids to turnkey supply and install FF&E for the new Tulls Creek Elementary School, 125 Campus Drive, Moyock, NC27929. This project is a new ground-up 2-story, Pre-K thru 5th grade school, approximately 118,000 square feet. Bid documents may be obtained through Christopher West Interiors LLC. Request bid documents via email to Pre-Bid RFIs will be accepted via email until Wednesday, July 31, 2024 at 5:00PM EST. Pricing proposals are due Wednesday, August 14, 2024 by 5:00PM EST. All bids and inquires to be sent to Certified NC Hub, MBE, WBE, DBE, SBE are highly encouraged to participate. Sussex Development is an EOE and maintains a drug-free workplace.


Comments are closed.