Wort Hannam, John - Long Haul

Format: LP
Label: Black Hen Music
Year: 2021
Origin: Jersey Channel Islands, 🇬🇧 - Fort MacLeod, Alberta, 🇨🇦
Genre: folk, blues
Value of Original Title: 
Make Inquiry/purchase: email
Release Type: Albums
Playlist: Black Hen Music, Alberta, 2020's, Folk


Side 1

Track Name
Long Haul
Hurry Up Kid
Wonderful Things
Beautiful Mess
Old Friend

Side 2

Track Name
What I Know Now
Meat Draw
Twilight Diner
Other Side of the Curve
Young at Heart



Long Haul


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released October 15, 2021

When John Wort Hannam started to write songs for ‘Long Haul,’ his 8th album and the follow-up to 2018’s “Acres of Elbow Room,” he didn’t have a particular theme in mind. He began by doing what he has always done: he found a quiet place to sit down with his guitar to search for lyrics and melodies to work with. Locked down in the early days of the pandemic, random ideas began to coalesce into a unified whole and eleven songs later, a unified vision had clearly emerged. With (its) narratives that trace small victories earned through faith, resilience and humour, the songs on ‘Long Haul’ reach beyond our current sense of isolation to share a sense of gratitude for what we have, and grief for what we have lost.

Balancing personal and universal concerns, the songs on ‘Long Haul’ offer intimate reflections of everyday life and experience - an area that has not always been the source of Hannam’s inspiration. “I’ve become more comfortable writing about myself than I ever was in the past. When I first started writing, I thought there was nothing interesting in my own life, so I relied on my imagination to create songs. Recently, I’ve realized that the things that I go through are meaningful and that I don’t need a crazy, drunken, bound for the jailhouse kind of life to write good songs.”

‘Long Haul’ is just that: an album of very good songs. The title track, written to celebrate Hannam’s two-plus decades making music while balancing touring, marriage, and fatherhood, is a reminder that there are no instant solutions in life, and that the race doesn’t always go to the swift. ‘Hurry Up Kid’ is a touching exploration of the ephemeral nature of youth and the relentless passage of time. The sense of loss that tinges many of the tracks finds its clearest expression in ‘Other Side of the Curve,’ which is in many ways the defining song of the album. Written after talking with a friend who was enduring lockdown thousands of miles away from the people she loved, Hannam looked at his own situation and realized how lucky he was to have a close family to isolate with.

Hannam’s long time fans might be surprised by songs like ‘Meat Draw’ and ‘Beautiful Mess,’ a humorous duet with Shaela Miller that fits comfortably alongside country classics like ‘Jackson’ or ‘In Spite of Ourselves.’ ‘Those are the types of things I would never have written about when I first started out. All of my early songs were serious and somber, but I’ve discovered that it’s actually really rewarding and difficult to write a funny song.”

After settling on the songs, the next challenge was to get them recorded, which was not an easy proposition during a global pandemic. The only option was to create the album remotely. Thankfully, John and his long time producer, Steve Dawson, had formed a natural chemistry over the pair of records they had previously crafted together, and once they got down to work, the thousands of miles separating Lethbridge, Alberta from Nashville seemed to disappear.

Intuitive accompaniment from Black Hen regulars Gary Craig (drums), Jeremy Holmes (bass) and Chris Gestrin (keyboards) laid the foundation for ‘Long Haul’s’ warm and spontaneous sound. Memorable performances from Dawson (guitar/strings) and John Prine alumnus Fats Kaplin (mandolin, fiddle, banjo and accordion) added a special chemistry to the mix, resulting in the best sounding record of Hannam’s career.

‘Long Haul’ is a reflection on my life up to this point, and for the first time I think that my songs perfectly encapsulate the truth of where I’m at as an artist and a person. Life is short. Time is passing and I don’t want to spend it wishing that things were any different than they are.”

Engagingly melodic, topical and enduring, ‘Long Haul’ is a career defining work by an artist who has come into his own.


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