Hanna Ross Hannaford Independent
Had he been an American, Ross Hannaford would have turned 65 in a rambling house with a flash car parked outside in flamboyant testimony to his legendary status. Instead, the former Daddy Cool guitarist was the subject last year of a benefit concert to help him pay bills for cancer treatment. Even so, Hanna did not let the battle with that insidious disease stop him from deploying his renowned skills and distinctive style on an idiosyncratic instrumental album.
The self-titled Hanna is a relaxed, meandering journey punctuated by the occasional burst of vocals that veer from a Spike Milligan warble to Hannaford’s deep baritone. The guitarist doesn’t sing in the traditional sense but tends to use his voice to counterpoint his lead work, most prominently on the cruisy Butane. Opening track I Save My Love for You sets the album’s laid-back and stripped-down tone with an extended reggae jam, albeit with some quirky breaks. Hanna’s much-loved reggae is the main vibe permeating this 10-track album, although it veers towards rock ’n’ roll with Toad Road and takes on a jazzier touch with Crazy Not To and Fixation With Street Names.
The overall feel is of being invited to a jam session in the artist’s home, although that would be tricky given Hannaford plays everything except some bass on Wha? Like any good performer, the guitarist saves one of the best until last. Till We Meet Again, an evocative tune that conjures images of flying low over sweeping Australian vistas, is a soundtrack waiting for a filmmaker to put it to good use. Hanna won’t be everybody’s cuppa, but it’s an enjoyable way to chill out with one of our underappreciated greats.