Canadian singer-songwriter John Wort Hannam offers something different as his terse tales of love, regret and getting through situations once thought devoid of a happy conclusion seep into the subconscious of the listener.
Hannam originally from Jersey is a former grade 9 language teacher who thankfully, turned his attention to becoming a full-time musician unleashes a string of wonderful songs on this his fourth full-length album. Amidst finely spun guitars, mandolin, mandola, double bass, banjo, accordion and harmony vocals this Steve Dawson (Weissenborn, National tricone, dobro, electric guitar, banjo, 12 string and pump organ) produced record hits all the right buttons. So good is the album fans of high quality acoustic Americana singer-songwriters should be queuing up to buy it. Fans of Guy Clark will no doubt detect traces of the great man in ‘With The Grain’ as his wry song draws comparisons to Guy’s all-time classic ‘The Carpenter’. High praise, indeed —and Hannam is worthy every bit of it!
For highlights you need to immediately go to the infectious Dobro and harmony vocals etched ‘When I Drink Too Much’ and arguably, better still ‘Worth A Damn’ (shades of Chip Taylor, Carrie Rodriguez). Dripping quality at every turn the arrival of Hannam’s new album did much to revive a thirst in my heart for Americana singer-songwriter performers and their music. A man who, like all quality songwriters keeps it simple and the difficult things when they do come along are likewise done with the minimal of effort. Hence, such tunes as ‘Shipwright Oh Shipwright’ speak volumes for the under appreciated musician (in this song alone a number of acts come to mind; the singing voice of country’s Mel Tillis for one) and ‘The Pier’ coupled with mellow, heart-tugging love ballad ‘Before I Wake’. One of a number of songs that benefit greatly, through the work of John Reischman, mandolin, mandola and harmony vocals of Jeanne Tolmie and Tyler Bird it paints a story so vivid the listener can’t but be taken on a journey they will crave to repeat again and again. ‘Lucky Strikes’ could well be another case in mind as his clever, homespun philosophy is uttered accompanied by complimentary accordion (Bird). Don’t forget you read about this rare find here on Flying Shoes!
John Wort Hannam: guitar, tenor guitar
Jenny Whiteley: vocals
Steve Dawson: electric guitar, dobro, banjo, pump organ
John Reischman: mandola, mandolin
Robert Becker: double bass
Geoff Hicks: drums