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Friday, June 18, 2010

What to Do Tonight: John Hammond

Posted By on Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Hammond and his weapon
  • Hammond and his weapon

The blues renaissance that ran concurrently and co-dependently with the ’60s folk boom produced countless wannabes, a good number of solid artists, and at least one genuine master. John Hammond taps into the seductive, spooky core of country blues and, even playing solo, generates more intensity than most bands. His intricate guitar work is never impeded as he punctuates his songs with harmonica. And few living blues singers can rival his pipes. Whatever his privilege, John Hammond comes by the music legitimately. The son of one of the most enlightened record execs — his dad launched the recording careers of Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan, among countless others — Hammond had easy intro to the ’60s folk/blues scene. But he quickly made his own rep, building a catalog of respectable records — easily the match of anyone in his crowd. But Hammond’s following didn’t really expand until Wicked Grin, his splendid 2001 collaboration with Tom Waits. Hammond’s well-seasoned voice proved an ideal match for Waits’ songbook. On last year’s Rough & Tough, Hammond digs in deep for a diverse solo set of old-school blues gems and a couple of retrofitted originals. He plays the Beachland Ballroom at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 advance, $20 day of show. —Duane Verh

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