gutiarists can entertain with just a solo electric guitar. There are
various New Age disciples, then of course there's jazz purists, avant
garde players and then theres Ross Hammond, who returns
with sonic vengeance on his 2011 CD release of Ambience, Antiquite
And Other Love Songs. Sonic instrumental guitar extrapolations
that owes more to Daniel Lanois than say David Gilmour or Hendrix
per se, Ross Hammond's superbly recorded and expertly mastered CD
hangs together with a unique kind of free falling fretboard tenacity.
Acknowledging the efficacy of a variety of music pioneered back in
the 70s by prog guitaristsfrom Howe to Hackett and Gilmour,
from Frith to Fripp to Rotherits all in play in Ross Hammonds
spatial guitar universe. That Rother opposed to Fripp side of Hammonds
guitar style is quite entertainingespecially on the first half
of the CD, featuring a spatial jangle of abstract and reverbed instrumental
guitarbut as the CD progresses it gets heavily involved in the
more Fripp-ian side of the musical coin and so it goes. With the CD
release of Ambience, Antiquite And Other Love Songs,
the two or more sides of Ross Hammond reveals the inner mechanisms
of a veritable guitar universe. www.RossHammond.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
mwe3: The new album makes quite a unique musical statement. What were
your musical parameters and guideposts when you wrote and recorded
the new Ambience, Antiquite And Other Love Songs CD?
is the first record I've done that was entirely solo. The title refers
to the three different thematic ideas in the recording. The "Ambience"
in the title refers to the shorter ambient pieces interspersed in
the record. They are generally shorter tape loops, electronic pieces
or guitar improvisations that I had recorded in the past few years.
The "Antiquité" in the title refers to the songs
that were recorded live at a concert at Antiquité Maison Privée
in Sacramento. Those pieces are longer themes that were written for
solo electric guitar.
Finally, the remainder of the pieces on the record are other live
songs written for my wife and daughter. There are two solo acoustic
songs on there, one of which is a cover of Gil Scot-Heron's "Your
Daddy Loves You," which is something I sing to my daughter at
home. I feel like all of these come together in a cohesive statement...
Can you say something about where you grew up and your first exposure
to music and to the guitar?
RH: I'm originally from Lexington, Kentucky and grew up wanting to
be a baseball player. However, I got a guitar at 12 years old and
started lessons. I was terrible for the first few years, but I was
getting very interested in music after I joined a band when I was
in high school. I was very interested in blues, soul and rock.
In college, I studied with a great jazz guitarist in Sacramento named
Jim Beeler. He got me interested in Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and
Kenny Burrell. From there I was hooked on jazz, particularly free
jazz and the early electric sounds of Miles, Weather Report and Herbie
Hancock.. I started collecting records from the Impulse, ESP and Black
Lion labels from the 60s and 70s. Artistically, it became apparent
to me that John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders were saying the same
thing as Chuck D and Jello Biafra and Bob Dylan, just with different
sounds. After that exposure I started focusing on improvising projects.
I tried to, and continue to, play with as many different improvisers
and musicians as I can. I have learned way more by actually playing
with different musicians than I ever did studying theory in a classroom.
were the guitarists that helped shape your musical intellect and set
you off on your own course?
RH: In no particular order: Reverend Gary Davis, Ali Farka Toure,
Grant Green, Sonny Sharrock, Bill Frisell, King Sunny Ade, Nels Cline,
Jeff Parker, Santana, Albert King, Albert Collins, Lonnie Mack, Doc
Watson, Thurston Moore, Melvin Taylor, Bern Nix, Jim McAuley, GE Stinson,
Robert Fripp, Wes Montgomery, etc... There are so many out there.
And of course there are some active improvisers now too like Ava Mendoza,
Noah Phillips, Tom McNalley, Marissa Anderson and a host of others
who I like listening to.
mwe3: What guitars are you playing on the new Ambience, Antiquite
And Other Love Songs CD? What are some of your other guitars and
can you say something about the way you recorded your new album?
RH: On that record I used a blonde G&L ASAT with a Bigsby for
all of the electric stuff. That is probably my main guitar, although
I just picked up a red Danelectro U2 reissue that is badass! For the
acoustic songs I used an old Fischer archtop from the early 30s. It's
a beautiful guitar that gets a great acoustic sound. I recently had
a pickup made for it by a great luthier in Winters, CA named Keith
Cary. It has a very cool electric sound too. For my most recent acoustic
work I have since bought a 1961 Martin OO18 that I really like. I'm
going to give it to my daughter when she gets a lot older (she's a
year and a half), but for now I'm playing it quite a bit.
As far as amps go, I pretty much use the ZT Lunchbox for everything.
It's amazing amp that can travel anywhere and packs a huge amount
of power in its' little frame. If the gig is in a place hats too large
for it I run it through a cabinet with a single 12" Celestion.
That's all the amp I need.
was tracked with my TEAC 4 track reel to reel, and then edited by
Bryce Gonzales in Sacramento. I love the raw sound of the 4 track,
and would definitely get another if I needed to. I generally record
about 95% of my songs through that, as I don't really like to use
computers to record. There's obviously nothing wrong with them, it's
just a preference.
mwe3: What are the future plans for exposing Ambience, Antiquite
And Other Love Songs and how about other plans regarding future
projects, tours and writing new music?
RH: Ambience, Antiquite and Other Love Songs has been out for
almost a year now. It has gotten a decent amount of buzz, and I'm
pretty happy about that. I just recorded a quartet record called Adore
with L.A. improv monsters Vinny Golia, Alex Cline and Steuart Liebig.
That record is being released at the end of February on Prescott Recordings.
As for other music projects, I'm always trying to collaborate with
different players and artists. I'll hopefully be making a lot of music
with Electropoetic Coffee, a band with poet NSAA and drummer Tom Monson,
and with Lovely Builders, with drummer Scott Amendola. I terms of
playing live, I'll still be busy in Sacramento this year in between
trips to New York, Seattle, the Bay Area and Southern CA.
For upcoming releases and gigs you can check