On The Up
Aussie blues-rock man hurries up and waits
i’ve never been interested in being a technically good guitarist – or in speed...
There’s a trend among young bluesmen, much like the perennial boy racer, to play guitar with go-faster stripes, souping up knackered licks with frippery and cold pace. LA-based, Australian-born songwriter Hamish Anderson is a very different proposition. He favours the slow burn.
“[It’s] simplicity,” Hamish tells TG. “I’ve never been interested in being a technically good guitarist – or in speed for that matter. For me, I’m more attracted to feel and simplicity, so that’s the type of guitar player that I strive to be.” This approach pervades every aspect of Hamish’s process. Part Tom Petty, part JJ Cale, his deftly-constructed 2017 debut album Trouble led to him touring the US alongside Vintage Trouble and Kenny Wayne Shepherd last year. But it’s his gravelly guitar work – undress-y, louche and noticeably slower playing than his peers – that truly sets him apart. Lyrical and soulful in a way that few manage, it would be tempting to dub Hamish ‘wise beyond his years’, but that – along with being horribly patronising – suggests an ear that’s gifted rather than honed. Trust us: sounding this relaxed in the digital age takes a lot of work.
“I write on a typewriter when I can,” expands Hamish. “Because you really have to commit to what you write and you can eliminate distractions. I use my phone to get ideas down quickly as they come and record voice memos; when it comes to lyric writing I find too often that I’ll get distracted by a message or I’ll open up social media and get lost. When writing on a typewriter you can be totally in your zone.”
He’ll need that focus: 2018 is already shaping up to be a big year, with second-album sessions and a trip to Europe on the cards. “The goal is to perform in the UK in 2018,” reveals Hamish. Let’s just hope that this is one thing he does quickly.
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