John Hammond Podcast

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Cover of Timeless CDTIMELESS (January 2014)
John’s newest album, Timeless, marks his 50th year as a recording artist. Fittingly, it was namedBest Acoustic Blues Album at Annual Blues Music Awards on May 7, 2015. The new CD adds to an already incredible career, having released thirty-five solo albums since 1964’s Big City Blues.Timeless, following on the heels of 2010’s Grammy nominated CD Rough and Tough, was recorded live at Chan’s in Woonsocket, RI (one of Hammond’s favorite venues in the world). The album honors a host of legendary and hugely influential blues artists including Chuck Berry, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf and Bobby “Blue” Bland, as well as the living legend and longtime collaborator and friend of Hammond’s, Tom Waits.
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“John’s sound is so compelling, complete, symmetrical and soulful with just his voice, guitar and harmonica, it is at first impossible to imagine improving it… He’s a great force of nature. John sounds like a big train coming. He chops them all down.” – Tom Waits

“John Hammond is a master… He is a virtuoso. A Conjurer… A Modernist… John is in a very small circle of men with a guitar and a harmonica. Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf, Bob Dylan. The guitar is an orchestra. He’s sending messages. Storytelling. All mystery. Protection. The language goes out through the night… The Big Boom. Boom the room.” – T Bone Burnett



★ 2015 Blues Music Award WINNER for Acoustic Artist of The Year, and Acoustic Album of The Year (“Timeless”)

Blues Hall of Fame log2011 BLUES HALL OF FAME Inductee
★ 2011 Blues Music Award WINNER for Acoustic Artist of the Year
2010 GRAMMY Nominee for “Rough & Tough” (Best Traditional Blues Album.) Rough & Tough, his 33rd album since his 1962 self-titled debut, was recorded live in November 2008 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in NYC. Included are classic songs written by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Blind Willie McTell and Tom Waits among others, as well as two John Hammond originals
2006 GRAMMY Nominee “In Your Arms Again”
2002 GRAMMY Nominee for Best Historical Album Washington Square Memoirs Box Set features John Hammond performing “Drop Down Mama”
1999 GRAMMY Nominee “Long As I Have You”
1998 GRAMMY Nominee “Found True Love”
1994 GRAMMY Nominee “Trouble No More”
1993 GRAMMY Nominee “Got Love If You Want It”
★ 1985 GRAMMY Winner for his performance on “Blues Explosion,” a compilation from the Montreux Jazz Festival also featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan, Koko Taylor and others

Blues Music Award Winner: 2004 & 2003 for Best Acoustic Blues Artist, 2002 for Best Acoustic Album for his Tom Waits produced “Wicked Grin.” To date John Hammond has been honored with a total of 8 Blues Music Awards and an additional 10 nominations.

Featured on 2010 Blues Music Awards Nominated “Things About Comin’ My Way – A Tribute to the music of the Mississippi Sheiks” (Acoustic Album of the Year)

Host of the BRAVO TV special and Sony Home Video, The Search for Robert Johnson

Performed or recorded with Jimi Hendrix (discovered while playing in John’s band), Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, JJ Cale, Tom Waits, The Band, John Lee Hooker, Dr. John and many more. He remains one of the world’s premier acoustic blues artists. A tireless performer, he played his 4000th date June 2008 and continues to tour world-wide on an annual basis.

51Y5QiX+ntLAfter 35 years into a career that spans 35 albums recorded for seven labels, you’d think John Hammond might get a little complacent. Thankfully the opposite is true, as 2001’s Wicked Grin is the artist’s most daring musical departure and arguably greatest achievement to date. Mining the rich Tom Waits catalog for 12 of its 13 tracks (the closing is a traditional gospel tune) and bringing Waits himself along as producer has resulted in a stunning collection that stands as one of the best in Hammond‘s bulging catalog. Never a songwriter, the singer/guitarist/harmonica bluesman has maintained a knack for picking top-notch material from the rich blues tradition without resorting to the hoary, over-covered classics of the genre. It’s that quality that transforms these tunes into Hammond songs, regardless of their origin. His history of working with exceptional session musicians is also legendary, and this album’s band, which features Doug Sahm sideman Augie Meyers on keyboards, harmonica wizCharlie Musselwhite, longtime Waits associate Larry Taylor on bass, and Waits himself poking around on various songs, is perfect for the spooky, swampy feel he effortlessly conjures here. Choosing from a wide variety of Waits‘ material, Hammond infuses these unusual tracks with a bluesman’s spirit and a crackling energy that practically reinvents the songs, instilling them with an ominous, rhythmic swampy feel. The producer contributes two new tracks (“2:19” and “Fannin’ Street,” the latter is the album’s only acoustic cut) that maintain the creepy but upbeat voodoo spirit that trickles and twists throughout. Hammond sings with a renewed spirit, adding a smoother but no less intense edge thanWaits‘ typical rusty razor blade soaked whisky growl. With his dusky croon and idiosyncratic delivery,Hammond tears into this material with relish, spitting out the often offbeat, stream of consciousness lyrics as if he wrote them himself. Only the slow, ambling blues of “Murder in the Red Barn” would comfortably slot into Hammond‘s existing oeuvre; the remainder push the bluesman into previously uncharted territory with results that reveal fascinating layers of his own interpretive abilities. An experiment whose success will hopefully yield another volume, this partnership of John Hammond andTom Waits brings out the best in both artists’ substantial talents.

John Hammond & His Screamin’ Nighthawks

1 I Wish You Would Come Back Baby (Live)
2 Hey Bo Diddly (Live)
3 You Don’t Love Me No More (Live)
4 Goin’ to New York (Live)
5 Don’t You Hear Me Cry for You (Live)
6 I Believe (Live)
7 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Live)
8 I’m in the Mood Baby (Live)
9 My Baby Don’t Stand No Cheatin’ (Live)
10 Gambler’s Blues (Live)
11 44 Talkin’ Blues (Live)
12 Move on Down the Road (Live)