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L.A. Beat

Ken Hamm to channel the spirit of old bluesmen

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Forget, Saskatchewan based acoustic bluesman Ken Hamm is probably the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, but when he gets on stage, battered metal National steel guitar in hand, look out.

It’s not a show you want to miss as he plays with a fury in his eyes, channelling the spirit of original bluesman like Robert Johnson. Ken Hamm returns to Lethbridge, Oct. 20. Photo by Richard Amery

And while he played a house concert in the area, Oct. 7, he will be back to play the Slice, Oct. 20 with author/ musician Sid Marty.

“He’s an author, but he’s also well known in the music community. Sid Marty has two CDs out. I know him through music. We’re good friends and we go fishing together and always say we should play some more shows together, so this time we are,” Hamm said.

“He’s a lot more prolific than I am. He’s always got new music,” said Hamm, who hopes to record his next CD fairly soon, as the last one  was released in 2006.
“So it’s overdue,” he said.

He is a Juno award winning musician, who is best known for  his reinterpretations of blues classics.

 Hamm is busy on the summer festival circuit as well as the odd bar and pub show, but lately has been involved in the Home Routes, national house concert tour, for the two weeks at the end of September and early November.

World class musicians like Hamm tour the country playing people’s homes. Through word of mouth and personal invitations, the owners  get 30 or 40 of their closest friends  to pay a nominal cover  which all goes to the musician. Hamm played all over Alberta and B.C. including Three Hills, Hinton, Calgary, Edmonton and Coaldale among others on this tour.

“ Coaldale was a close as I got to Lethbridge on that tour. There was a pretty good crowd. But generally they are really good audiences. They are polite and really listen,” he said noting it is different than playing a bar where musicians are trying to play over the chatter of  the audience.
“It’s a lot different, you aren”t tied to a  sound system or  lights. I can  plug in, but I’d rather be sitting on a stool in the corner,” he said.

 In Lethbridge, he will be playing National Steel guitar, banjo and dobro, which he  bought in Lethbridge at Lucky Star Guitars.

Hamm was awarded a Juno for Best Roots & Traditional CD and has been nominated for Recording of the Year and nominated several times for Best Acoustic Act of the Year by the Toronto Blues Society. Hamm was also nominated three years running as Best Acoustic Blues Guitarist by North America's "Guitar Player" magazine and he was the Canadian representative to the Festival of Plucked Strings in Morocco.

“I’ll be playing songs from my eight CDs including the Juno Award winning CD.”
 He will also be backing Sid Marty on his songs, who will return the favour.

 Hamm hasn’t played the Slice since it was Carol’s, though he played the Lethbridge Folk Club last year with Linda McRae.

“That’s another person I’d like to work with again, he said.
 The show begins at about 9:30 p.m., Oct. 20.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 October 2011 12:06 )  
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