~Portraits in Blues~



John Hammond 01/30/2011

Old Town School of Folk Music / Chicago, Il.


We saw John perform at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago on January 30, 2011.  The sound, stage, and seating arrangements of this venue are absolutely perfect for a performances like John’s.  It is spacious, yet no matter where you sit, you will feel like you could reach out and touch the stage.  The intimacy adds to the enjoyment of any show that you attend here.

John is a fascinating personality - he talks to the audience as if he were talking to a few friends, sitting around the dining room table over Sunday dinner.  He keeps it simple and tells us these personal anecdotes of so many musicians that he has had memorable encounters with over the years.  By the end of the show, you feel like you know all these marvelous people the way John knows them.

It is always such a special treat to see John and let him take you to where the blues really come from that reaches deep into your soul.  You need to see him play and sing, and don’t take your eyes off of him for a second, because he gets you with his facial expressions as well as with the sounds of the harmonica, guitar, the stomping of his foot on the floor and the beat his hand on the guitar.  You are in for a special delight when he tells of his Crown Vic, and personalities like Big Joe Williams, Hoyt Axston, Mike Bloomfield, Robert Geddens, and so many other great bluesmen.  He speaks of the Maxwell Street country bluesmen like Honeyboy Edwards and Robert Nighthawk.

John plays with all of his heart and soul and his style filled with compassion honors the great legends such as Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Lightnin’ Slim, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, and Lowell Fulson.  He called them “Hard Hitters”  Love that term! 


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