While living on the lush grounds of a mysterious Columbia Gorge Winery, Dustin Hamman, the driving force behind "Run On Sentence", composed an astonishing catalogue of powerful songs. Up in those rolling hills and secret meadows was born Oh When the Wind Comes Down, a storybook album of both rollicking gusto and heartbreakingly tender ballads. In the solitude and splendor of the winery life, Hamman envisioned a work capable of drawing both laughter and sighs.
Originally a three-piece (John Vecchiarelli on drums, William Joersz on double bass), the Portland, Oregon based group has grown and shifted as Hamman inspired a small village of musicians to rally behind his music. With the help of Producer Nick Jaina and Engineer Lee Howard, Hamman's songwriting vision was fully realized on Oh When the Wind Comes Down as they and their musical cohorts wreathed the lyrical paintings in gypsy accordion, ponderous bass, lilting vocal harmonies, bright percussion and expansive Spanish trumpet lines. The resultant album is a resplendent and shining fable, populated by colorful characters, haunted by ghosts, and glowing with a deep and sincere wonder.
Hamman's musical tastes span many genres but have always been rooted in folk. Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska he had an early fascination with American Indian singing, early punk rock, and hometown troubadour Simon Joyner. Later he explored the blues and the origins of country, eventually gaining interest in early jazz, swing, and big band. During a short life in Florida he also discovered Latin rhythms and became intrigued by Flamenco and Classical Guitar. Many listeners may point to Neutral Milk Hotel, Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire, Devendra Banhart, The Squirrel Nut Zippers, and The Violent Femmes as touchstones, but it's clear that Hamman's music isn't derivative of any band, time, or place. Witnessing Hamman live, in any continuum of solo to 12 piece ensemble, the listener is transported by his range and control as a vocalist and his composure as a frontman in contrast to his unassuming demeanor between songs. On yet another level, Hamman's lyrics strike a balance between narrative and impressionistic, existential and humanist. Oh When The Wind Comes Down is a fitting title not only for this collection of songs, but evocative of Hamman's voice: betwixt gale force and gentle breeze there’s a song that tells a story.
released 14 October 2008
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