Having seen fellow music supporter, Jordan (link to her website) frequently post about her friend Phil Hamilton back in 2016, it peaked my interest. I had not heard his music before and once I looked him up I understood why she loves his music so much. Behind the long black beard is a country artist who boasts multiple number one hits on the Texas radio charts and a voice that isn't easily imitated.
I'm listening to his album "Brazos Wind" as I type this and it's an impressive collection of songs. I was reading about Hamilton on his website and scouring some articles to find out a bit more about him and his music. He references being influenced by some Texas Country greats like Pat Green and Robert Earl Keen Jr which are staples in the Texas music scene. If you pay attention you'll hear some rock and roll touches in Phil's music - inspired by his love for the music of the legendary Mr. Tom Petty. From the honky tonkin' "Big Hole in Nashville" to the tender love song "Forever with You," Phil Hamilton pulls you in from the start.
As I watched the videos about the album, Hamilton talked about how there's an array of pieces to the album "Brazos Wind." He had a relationship that he was able to get out of that was a darker time. Having been in a toxic relationship before myself, I understand what that can feel like and the importance of moving on. It's a freeing feeling to finally rid yourself of a situation like that and it's a hell of a learning experience. This came across clear in "You Think You Know Me." It's times like these that are so impactful on an artists song-writing. It's easy to sing about all of the high points in life, but many memorable songs are about hardships. You know, the stuff that isn't pretty and emotionally grueling to endure.
There's the powerful song, "June" which is about the birth of he and his wife, Erica Perry's, baby girl. The eagerness of waiting for her to be brought into this world is captured so well in this song. For so long it's all about you when you're single and hanging with your friends. As responsibilities begin to grow and serious relationships are born, our priorities change. Our outlook becomes different and we start to take into consideration the desires and needs of partners. When a baby is born, the change is even more because they need guidance, care and love. Listening to this song shows the passion Phil Hamilton and his wife have to raise their baby girl. Embracing and singing about looking forward to raising a child shows his family-first mentality and maturity.
"Big Hole in Nashville" is one of my favorite songs on this album and it's not just because of the sweet guitar solo in the middle. This is a very true song when it comes to the state of country music in Nashville. If you read my article about Cody Riley a couple weeks ago, he spoke about the insane talent that is in Nashville. No one can dispute that quality artists reside and play there – it's loaded with talent. The problem is the way the "big machine" works and "chews you up and spits you out" as Hamilton says. I have read countless stories about artists who think they can change the way Nashville works. Good songwriters, good performers and a positive attitude can't even push through the muck. It requires selling out and trading your identity to succeed more often than not. It's a compromise that many take, but there are so many artists that stay in the Texas scene. Here they can put out what they want, when they want, and have the artistic freedom they SHOULD have.
There's an energy in the music of Phil Hamilton that is not faked or over done. The electric guitar is just right in my eyes. It's clearly rock and roll inspired which prevents it from that all-to-often mainstream cheesiness. His wife adds beautiful vocals to the must-hear, "The Room." I have some homework ahead of me to get acquainted with her music and help spread the word.
While your checking out Phil Hamilton, check out another crowd favorite (and mine also) "Nine Mile" and tell me you aren't rocking out to it. I know you're lying if you say otherwise ;)
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
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