If blues, soul, and rock can be said to form a triangle, you’ll find Hamilton Loomis right in the center of it”, says Guitar Player Magazine. An apt description, as Loomis is one of the young artists at the forefront of bringing blues into the 21st century and redefining it for a contemporary audience. He has been bridging the gap between generations of music-lovers both in the U.S. and around the world. His new release, Ain’t Just Temporary, finds Loomis masterfully blending his myriad influences, at once forging ahead into new musical territories while maintaining a strong connection to the blues legends that took him under their wings at a young age.
Born and raised in Galveston, Texas, Hamilton was first hooked on music through his parents’ extensive collection of blues, rock, and soul records. Hamilton honed his multi-instrumental chops early, learning drums, piano, guitar, bass and harmonica by his early teens, and performing as part of his family’s doo-wop group.
At age sixteen he went backstage to meet Bo Diddley, and before the night was over Hamilton was onstage playing alongside the legend. Since that initial meeting, Diddley has become a friend, mentor, and supporter. “INNOVATE, DON’T IMITATE”…Diddley’s words continue to inspire Hamilton and fuel his desire for originality. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member said of Loomis, “You got to put some seasonin’ in what you’re doin’, and this boy’s got the whole salt shaker!” Diddley contributes his unmistakable voice and funky tremolo guitar to “You Got To Wait,” a tune he and Hamilton co-wrote for Ain’t Just Temporary.
Other Texas blues legends such as Johnny Copeland, Gatemouth Brown, Joe “Guitar” Hughes, and Albert Collins also schooled him early on in the finer points of the music, recognizing the youngster’s talent and potential. By the time he turned eighteen, Hamilton had performed in front of thousands at the Delta Blues Festival, and he was writing, arranging, and performing his own material. He released his first CD, Hamilton, in 1994, which received a Grammy Nomination for “Best Contemporary Blues Album”. A series of self-released CDs followed, including 1996’s Just Gimme One Night, 1999’s All Fired Up, which the UK’s Blues Matters said was “so strong and confident that it has your vote two bars in.” Hamilton’s 2002 release, Live-Highlights, captured what his crowd-pleasing show “is all about, and that is powerful Blues, Funk and Soul,” according to Twelve Bar Rag magazine. “There is not enough room here to point out all the good things about Live-Highlights!”
Hamilton’s first Blind Pig Records release, Kickin’ It, released in 2003, presented his innovative approach to an audience hungry for something new in roots music. Said Blueswax, “Loomis really gets it, and he is only in his twenties! Don’t just dust off those old hackneyed Blues, create your own style of funkified soulful music.” Southland Blues raved, “Kickin’ It is one of the best CDs of the year. This kid’s got most all of it and then some. More than worth a listen.” And the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted, “Loomis displays a polished vocal, guitar and songwriting knack that could win him the sort of crossover audience that Robert Cray and B.B. King enjoy.”
“I grew up not only listening to blues, but Otis Redding, Booker T., Sam & Dave, and Stevie Wonder…and that funky stuff you hear probably comes from me being a Prince fan,” says Loomis. All of these influences are on display on Ain’t Just Temporary – sparse, funky rhythms, earthy Fender Rhodes and Hammond B3 organ, powerful harmonica, and Hamilton’s soulful vocals coupled with his stellar guitar work. Hamilton teamed with legendary Houston engineer Steve Ames to realize the album’s natural, uncluttered, organic sound. Add in his tasteful addition of drum loops and other modern production touches and you get a refreshing approach that manages to avoid blues clichés while staying true to the heart of the music. Despite possessing the musical vocabulary that allowed him to handle virtually all the instruments heard on the CD, Hamilton’s focus on songwriting, taste, and musicality remains steadfast.
Touring non-stop since 2001, Hamilton has brought his funk-i-fied Texas music to audiences all over the U.S. and the world, recently earning two “Best Artist” awards in England and Wales. By deftly balancing his blues roots and penchant for experimentation and originality, Loomis has guaranteed his place at the head of the pack of young artists changing the face of modern blues.