Hamm Feels the Spirit of his Music Ken Hamm: Live '05
The much-celebrated Juno award-winning acoustic guitarist Ken Hamm's new double live album Live '05 directly channels good time fire and brimstone sounds from swamp and pine forest to summoning by-the-sea cedar spirits without blinking an eye. Like troubadors of yore, Hamm, besides having a true lightning-toned guitar touch and astonishing technique, is an engaging entertainer whose voice clearly feels the spirit of his muse. He's as cool as a cucumber, whilst traveling to regions past and present on the fretboard. Hamm bounces and soars all through this collection of traditional, cover, and original songs, and they whip by in a blur. The songs are short and there's a lot of them but Hamm uses the length of the repertoire to explore, explain and entertain; all the while it sounds like he's having a damn good. The recording conveys this energy with verve and intimacy and Hamm's enthusiasm and the character behind the songs clearly animate his own performance for the listener.
A compelling quality of Live '05 is the laissez- faire attitude in which Hamm rips the weighty, sometimes history-laden material whether he's performing is own, or say, Mississippi John Hurt song, the arrangements are intense, but also pristine and easy - or so he plays it anyway.
Dean Gordon Smith
Vernon Morning Star
"... This is one of the hands-down best acoustic guitar recordings I have heard in a long, long time. Weighing in at just under 50 minutes, Hamm has compiled 16 songs--13 of them new ones, and takes the listener on a delightful journey that encompasses almost every emotion imaginable through his expert playing. He's billed as an acoustic country blues player but his repertoire crosses over into folk and bluegrass and beyond, aided by the added instrumentation of banjo, mandolin, bass, hand drums and harmonica. The largely trio format provides a fully animated sound across such classics as John Fahey's Last Steam Engine Train and Leo Kottke's Fisherman. These fit seamlessly with Hamm's originals like the jubilant Burns Lake Bounce/Swap The Vest or Redhaired Shake or his take on the traditional, Cooderesque Shenandoah, which positively soars in his capable hands. Fingerlickin¹ good would be an understatement."
- Eric Thom, 'Penguin Eggs' (Spring 2004)
"...Ken Hamm is one of the brightest lights of Canadian roots music. Just listen to his cover of John Fahey's "Last Steam Engine Train" instrumental and wonder how so much wonderous noise can come out of six skinny little strings."
- John P. McLaughlin, 'The Province'
"...his exceptional musical gift for picking guitar and plumbing the tradition has turned him into one of Canada's most entertaining experts in the field of southern delta blues ...a feeling of authenticity continues to trickle through on his recent solo blues album, the excellent independent production 'Galvanized'"
- Roger Levesque, 'The Edmonton Journal'
"...a barebones masterpiece...this local blues musician is one of the country's finest treasures." "...the best slide guitar blues this country has to offer...a 20-song slice of joy"
- Mike Devlin, 'The Times Colonist'
"Ken Hamm opened the evening with a classic Leadbelly number "Bourgeois Town". It was immediately apparent why he is in such demand across this country, as well as in Europe and Britian, for his accomplished steel and acoustic guitar playing. In the third piece of his set, "Northwind Blues", his National 1930 steel guitar seemed to be singing on its own. Ken Hamm has a voice that resonates deeply of the south, with crooning richness that flows out of him as he smiles and nods and bends into chords and notes that roll from his guitar like a conversation."
- From the book MANY VOICES "Finding Our Roots" 2004
"the main act that night was someone I'd had just finished reading about, Ken Hamm. He got up and introduced his first song and started playing on an old Gibson acoustic and I think I said to Brian sitting next to me 'man this guy can play'. He did a few more on the Gibson then grabbed his 1927 National Steel, put on his slide and I swear I saw sparks as he moved it up and down the neck of the guitar."
- Keith Rodger, 'Blues News - MBS Newsletter'
"At the Bein Inn on Friday night, Canadian blues picker Ken Hamm showed just why he is regarded as one of the finest acoustic blues guitarists around. The audience was spellbound..."
Alan Wilson, Dundee, Scotland (Nov 22, 2002) (Read complete review)
"... Hamm has a spectacular vocal range and style that perfectly compliments the resonance and tone of the instruments....his playing style is pretty impressive too...a blues performer that leaves most others trailing in his wake."
- Drew McAdam, 'Edinburgh Evening News'
- Joseph Blake, 'Victoria Times-Colonist'
"...Ken Hamm and his sheet-metal guitar and his pure blues voice took us back to the mid 1800¹s, the era of proto-blues. Oh sure, there were the wonderful Leadbelly numbers, the aching Muddy Waters pieces, even the Rev. Robert Wilkins' 'Prodigal Son' as popularised on the Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet album, just to show he understands the recent developments of the blues idiom. But how about the brilliant instrumental, 'Poor boy a long ways from home', a tonal blues masterpiece, or Skip James' number 'Crow Jane' which sparkled as if newly hewn out of the cleff. These helped to convey a serious history to the genre, making a link with the past that even interlopers who aren't native to the Mississippi delta country can exalt in."
- Larry Winger's review of Northumbrian Music Nights concert.
"...My favorite guitarist on the entire planet"
- Arthur Black, CBC Radio
"...If 'Eagle Rock Road' doesn't turn your crank, you may be in grave danger of voting Tory! Vetern blues performer Ken Hamm, surrounded by terrific musicians has put out one of those landmark albums that you absolutely must add to your collection...one of the best releases of 1995
- Gene Wilburn, 'Northern Journey'
For Booking Information contact:
Tel (306) 861-8245