John Hammond

With Natalia Zukerman. Wednesday, February 21, at the Beachland.

John Hammond
Unlike his father, John Henry Hammond, a behind-the-scenes figure who helped discover Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen, John Hammond's career has been played out both on the road and on the stage as a highly regarded bluesman. Since his start during the folk and blues revival of the early '60s, Hammond has released over 30 albums and won a Grammy. Given his lengthy discography, it is surprising that Hammond is new to songwriting. In fact, his latest effort, Push Comes to Shove, contains his highest number of originals: five. But they work well alongside renditions of vintage Junior Wells, Little Walker, and Tom Waits.

The disc's other surprise is that it was produced by Philly groove-dude and Coke ad man G. Love, a longtime Hammond fan. While Love maintains the guitarist's gritty, juke-joint sound, his thumbprint (and rap cameo) is all over a roots-hop update of the old Freddie King nugget "I'm Tore Down" (a tune Hammond previously recorded back in 1969).

For the Beachland show, however, it will only be Hammond taking the audience on a journey through American blues: from Muscle Shoals, up the Mississippi Delta, to Chicago.

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