Acoustic blues artists, John Hammond Jr., coming to Thrasher
From coffeehouses to concert halls, festivals and beyond, John Hammond has spent forty years entertaining blues, folk and rock audiences around the world, performing intense solo-acoustic blues. Join us on Friday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. as this Grammy Award winning artist adds the historic Thrasher Opera House, in downtown Green Lake, to that list.
In addtion to being a Grammy Award winner and multiple W.C. Handy Awards, Hammond has been nominated six other times in the Best Acoustic Blues Album, Best Blues Historical Album, Best Acoustic Artist catagories, with his latest; a 2010 Grammy nomination for Rough and Tough (Best Traditional Blues Album).
In some ways, Rough & Tough (Chesky Records), harkens back to that first recording Hammond did with Vanguard Records nearly 50 years ago. Since its release, Rough & Tough has wasted no time and reached 13 on the Billboard Blues charts. “This recording is not unlike a live show that I would do except that there was no live audience to perform for,” says Hammond. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a solo album out, so I’m very happy with it.”
With a career that spans over four decades, John Hammond is one of handful of white blues musicians who was on the scene at the beginning of the first blues renaissance of the mid-'60s. That revival, brought on by renewed interest in folk music around the U.S., brought about career boosts for many of the great classic blues players, including Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis, and Skip James. Some critics have described Hammond as a white Robert Johnson, and Hammond does justice to classic blues by combining powerful guitar and harmonica playing with expressive vocals and a dignified stage presence.
Within the first decade of his career as a performer, Hammond began crafting a niche for himself that is completely his own: the solo guitar man, harmonica slung in a rack around his neck, reinterpreting classic blues songs from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s.
When Hammond was living in the Village in 1966, a young Jimi Hendrix came through town, looking for work. Hammond offered to put a band together for the guitarist, and got the group work at the Cafe Au Go Go. By that point, the coffeehouses were falling out of favor, and instead the bars and electric guitars were coming in with folk-rock. Hendrix was approached there by Chas Chandler, who took him to England to record. Hammond recalls telling the young Hendrix to take Chandler up on his offer. "The next time I saw him, about a year later, he was a big star in Europe," Hammond recalled in a 1990 interview. In the late '60s and early '70s, Hammond continued his work with electric blues ensembles, recording with people like Band guitarist Robbie Robertson (and other members of the Band when they were still known as Levon Helm & the Hawks), Duane Allman, Dr. John, harmonica wiz Charlie Musselwhite, Michael Bloomfield, and David Bromberg.
Over the years, Hammond has performed or recorded with Jimi Hendrix (discovered while playing in John's band), Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, JJ Cale, Tom Waits, The Band, John Lee Hooker, Dr. John and many more.
Now, more than 40 years later, Hammond continues to tour all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe from his base in northern New Jersey. Whether it's with a band or by himself, Hammond can do it all. Seeing him perform live, one still gets the sense that some of the best is still to come from this energetic bluesman.
Tickets are $20 and available at the Thrasher office, Knowledge Emporium, Green Lake Bank (
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of