Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Ken Hamm is one of Canada's foremost interpreters of traditional roots and blues music. Since 1978, when he began touring solo, Hamm has won a wide following for his stellar guitar work, as well as for his original songs that reflect his rural West Coast life. Along the way Hamm was awarded a Juno for Best Roots & Traditional CD and has been nominated for Recording of the Year and nominated several times for Best Acoustic Act of the Year by the Toronto Blues Society. Hamm was also nominated three years running as Best Acoustic Blues Guitarist by North America's "Guitar Player" magazine and he was the Canadian representative to the Festival of Plucked Strings in Morocco.
But beyond the awards and well-earned praise he has garnered, the most impressive thing about Hamm's music is how he is able to make the music he plays his own. When you see Ken Hamm in concert, it is obvious that he has absorbed, arranged and restated traditional blues and roots music, and made it current and original. His ability to accompany himself with driving and intricate slide and acoustic guitar completes the mix.
Hamm was raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario and began his musical pursuits as a teenager by listening to old country and blues recordings at the local folk record store. The proprietor, recognizing his interest and intent, encouraged him. After playing in local bands and performing in coffee houses around Thunder Bay, Hamm began travelling the folk circuit performing in venues ranging from house concerts to concert halls to major festivals. Hamm moved to the West Coast in 1982 and has continued to write from his experiences as a silviculturalist, fisherman and rural observer. His songs reflect the land he loves and the lives of the people that live there without being sentimental or overstated. Hamm's song 'Fishing Grounds' is featured on an interactive CD-ROM designed by the BC Folklore Society to educate high school students.
In addition to these activities, Hamm has become well known as a guitar instructor of fingerpicking and slide guitar styles, and is currently working on a book and instructional video. As well as producing roots music recording projects for others, Hamm is presently touring to promote his 2003 release, 'FingerLicks', an all-instrumental collection of tunes featuring new as well as previously recorded material.
Hamm is constantly on tour in Canada, England, Scotland and Europe, playing festivals and concerts and presenting guitar workshops, sometimes solo, sometimes with other musical friends. With six CDs, his own label and an ever expanding audience, it is likely you can hear some of Ken Hamm's musical magic in your area soon.