John Wort Hannam ready for a busy year


Fort Macleod singer songwriter John Wort Hannam is  finally ready to officially release his fourth full length CD , “Queen’s Hotel,” which was officially released on October, in his home province. He,  along with drummer Brad Brouwer, Tyler Bird on stand up bass and accordion and fiddler Scott Duncan will be playing the release party at the Slice, Jan. 14. He is just playing a handful of Alberta CD release gigs including the CDs namesake in Fort Macleod,  Jan. 15 at ‘Queens Hotel’, in Calgary Jan. 16 and Edmonton, Jan. 17.
“I’ve bJohn Wort Hannam playing with the Highway 3 Roots Review. Photo by Richard Ameryeen touring a lot,” Hannam said from Edmonton, adding  he  did a long tour with Dave McCann and Leeroy Stagger as part of the Highway 3 Roots Review and did a lot of solo gigs in California and the east coast of the United States at the tail end of last year.
“I’m always writing new material, but  I won’t record for at least a year. I really think that making a record is the easy part. It’s the touring, marketing and promotion that is the hard work,” Hannam continued.
“ I want to make sure  I’ve marketed and promoted this one right,” he continued, adding ‘With the Grain’ appears to be the crowd favourite off  this CD. The song won him the Calgary Folk Festival songwriting competition, which won him $3,000 and a tough travel case for his guitar.
“They’ve been holding the contest since 2004 and I’ve entered every year except for two. That song actually came out of a conversation I had with my dad when  I was thinking of quitting teaching  to become a songwriter. I was talking to some people  and people were like ‘are you serious?’ but dad was one of the few who said ‘that’s great,’” Hannam continued adding he taught for five years on the Blood reserve. While  the reserve itself  didn’t inspire songs, taking his degree in English gave him a sense of storytelling.
He is inspired by Southern Alberta landscape and people and decided to start writing  songs after hearing a Louden Wainwright III album, then listening to songwriters like Fred Eaglesmith and Billy Bragg.
“It’s that  genre of storytellers that’s inspirational. They sing about small towns, people and underdogs,” Hannam added, noting he is a songwriter first and decided to pick up a guitar to accompany himself, so he wouldn’t have to sing a cappella.

“Songwriting is my first passion,” he said adding his trio will be heading up north for shows in Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, then come back in time to play a couple high profile  gigs at the Olympics in Vancouver.
“The one on Feb. 16  is in Alberta House for Olympic organizers. The one on  Feb. 17 is  part of the New Songs, new Voices at Round Station which is a great venue,” he enthused adding organizers just called him up for the gigs.
The CD, named after Fort Macleod’s  Queen’s Hotel, was also released on  Black Hen Records, like his previous record “Two Bit Suit.”
“They’re great (producer) Steve Dawson is great.  If I thought of a small roots label I wanted to be involved with, this would be the one,” he continued adding the Lethbridge  show’s first set will include all of this album, while the second set will include tracks from his previous CDs. His favourite track off the new CDS is ‘Requiem For a Small Town’ which includes  lyrics about Queen’s Hotel.
“The other one that seems to resonate with the crowd is ‘Lucky Strike,’ he said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing people at the Slice and hope they enjoy the show.”


The show begins at 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 January 2010 00:42 )