Swiftly following on from their Independent Music Award winning debut album, Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts are delighted to announce its follow-up: ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’. Pre-order here.
Little over a year since the release of his enthusiastically received debut ‘This Is The Sound‘, the Texan maestro backed by his trans-atlantic band will release 11 brand new tracks on 18th September 2020 in what will be their sophomore release for the Wicked Cool label.
As a teaser of what lies in store, the band can today reveal a new song: “Jesus & John Lennon” – a track as laden with lyrical curiosities and playful imagination as its intriguing title would suggest.
Watch the lyric video for “Jesus & John Lennon” here: https://youtu.be/p_fmnVclToo
A prolific singer/songwriter with a restless spirit, Ryan Hamilton was just putting together the finishing touches to the band’s second album for Stevie Van Zandt’s ‘Wicked Cool’ label when he got a phone call announcing their debut had just won an ‘Album of the Year’ award at the Independent Music Awards. Although the singer may have been deprived of attending the ceremony in New York after a certain global pandemic broke out, Hamilton was thrilled to win nonetheless, with the award spurring him on to make its successor every bit as special:
“To win an Independent Music Award for Album of the Year is, of course, an incredible honor.’ says Hamilton. “To win, is enough. When you look at the list of judges and see revered artists and heroes such as Tom Waits, Tracy Chapman, Robert Smith… I mean… That’s something else! damn, it woulda been fun to go celebrate in NYC! Haha. Oh well, we’ll just have to win it again next year ;-)”
Though the pressure might be on, the 11 songs of rollicking rock’n’roll, sweet Americana and majestic folk that comprise Hamilton’s upcoming LP ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere‘ are evidence of an artist in complete control and on the inspired form of his career. But everything comes at a price.
Like some of the greatest records in history, the bittersweet and often beautiful songs of ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ have their basis in break-up. In the wake of a divorce and in urgent need of a new start, Hamilton hit the highway and embarked on a long, soul searching road trip across the US. Losing himself in the heartlands of old America, Hamilton found himself gazing upon the crumbling motels and diners that line fabled arteries like Route 66 and picturing what once might have been; their fading grandeur offering a unique sense of solace and inspiration. As the milometer ticked-on and new experiences began to ease those unshakeable notions of hurt and heartbreak, unexpectedly Hamilton felt himself writing some of the most intimate and personal music he has ever written.
“It’s a group of songs about heartbreak, and finding yourself.” says Hamilton of the new record. “It’s not like anything I’ve ever done. I am certain they’re the best songs I’ve ever written. When this album comes out, it will be like baring my soul… and I’m ok with that.”
Literature fans may be quick to identify the title as a quote from another creative work written “On The Road”, by a certain Jack Kerouac. Though a fan, Hamilton insists its pure serendipity in this case. Or, the influence of a lucky charm perhaps (also seen to feature on the upcoming album artwork)…
“I knew it had to be the title for this album.” he says. “Kerouac is a hero, and because of the way this album was written, his spirit is all over it. I actually own Jack Kerouac’s belt. That he wore in the 60s… It’s a cherished possession.”
With a lifelong adoration for the work of Tom Petty, listeners will no doubt detect the influence of the great man in the warm and radiant arrangements of album opener “Only A Dream” or the gentle Califonian kissed balladry of “Pick Yourself Up”. But it seems a final pit-stop and pilgrimage to the famed Norman’s Rare Guitars in LA, would play its part in determining the resultant sound of ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ too.
“Norman is the go to guy for a lot of big names out there. Including my hero, Tom Petty.” reflects Hamilton. “I went in the store at the end of that aforementioned road trip from Texas… and had no intentions of leaving with a guitar. But, Norm and I got to talkin’, and we talked about Tom… and before I knew it, I was leaving with a vintage Martin acoustic. That guitar feels like my child. I cherish it.”
Returning home filled with a sense of rejuvenation and alive with new ideas, Hamilton reconnected with The Harlequin Ghosts (aka Mickey Richards and Rob Lane) and a host of talented musicians to help recreate his journey in the songs of what would become: ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’.
Taking a similar approach to the recording process of their debut, ‘This Is The Sound’, the new album was recorded using both Hamilton’s home studio in Texas and that of producer Dave Draper’s in the UK, who also produced, mixed & mastered the final cut. Hamilton laid down the bulk of the record whilst also touring his solo acoustic tour in February 2020, before the declaration of the global pandemic saw Hamilton forced to return home to add the finishing touches.
Not one to sit still for long, Hamilton even found time to write an additional EP’s worth of material, ‘Incommunicado‘. Connecting remotely with producer Draper, plus other fellow musicians in lockdown in the UK and France, the EP recorded and released completely in lockdown. Dropped without prior warning in May 2020 and with all proceeds going to the Music Venue Trust’s ‘Save Our Venues’ campaign, it shot straight up the charts to become Hamilton’s first number 1 album (iTunes Country Chart) and sets the precedent for a magnificent long player to follow this Autumn.
Wise with the experiences of life and glowing with the sense of adventure of his travels, ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ is an exceptional new chapter in the Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts story. Just make sure to save them a table at the awards ceremonies next year…