I believe it was eight years ago that I happened upon Hamell On Trial aka Ed Hamell. I was attending an Ani Difranco concert and Hamell On Trial opened for her. I considered Hamell On Trial to be categorized as folk but he gave himself the category of rock. It made sense. Just because a person doesn't use an electric guitar doesn't mean that rock n' roll does not exist. Hamell taught me that.
Hamell has a lot of gusto, and a lot of sass. He's blunt, he's humorious and he's crass. Okay, I didn't intentionally set out to rhyme there. I'm a fan of Hamell's music but admittedly so, sometimes his lyrics are off putting. Depends on the song.
The below songs are from the first Hamell On Trial album I ever owned; it is called Tough Love.
Here he is rocking out in front of a music store on Record Store Day in 2010. He's got a unabomber look going.
Don't Kill by Hamell On Trial
"Don't Kill" is the first song Hamell played when I saw him live all those years ago. Being that believe in God, I appreciated his words very much.
Below is another song about God and although to some it may seem like an anti-God song, I see it as a song that represents a feeling of loneliness and a state of questioning. A stage of misunderstanding and fear. I think even the most devout visit the land of doubt now and then.
Hamell delivers this song in a very folk way actually. Very much as a linear story telling fashion which is what I love about it.
A Little Concerned by Hamell On Trial - Phinhook - 10/7/2011
The next song here, is entitled, "Hail." It is a touching song about a few young ones who died out of hatred and homophobia.
Hail by Hamell On Trial
Long ago Hamell was involved in a nearly life taking car wreck. Here he tries to make light of it with his song, "Downs." No doubt something that got him through the pain.
Downs by Hamell On Trial - AB in Brussels - October 2007
Last but not least, here is Hamell on stage with the great Ani Difranco on vibraphone and Anais Mitchell on guitar and vocals.
Waiting for My Man - Velvet Underground at Paradiso 10-27-08
For more information on Hamell On Trial visit his website.
Hamell On Trial belongs to Ani Difranco's own record label, Righteous Babe Records. To learn more about the label and the other artists that are under that label, visit the website here.
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