Push Comes to Show-Me

Legendary blues guitarist John Hammond discovers the joys of songwriting

Not bad, considering that Push Comes to Shove was completed — from start to finish, from recording to mastering — in nine days in an antiquated little studio built by Frankie Valli.

"The room that had the 24-track analog board in it is rarely used anymore," Hammond says. "Upstairs, there's another room that's got all ProTools. And they mostly record rap there. There were some characters hanging out. It was kind of wild. There was no elevator, and we were two big floors up, so we had to pay extra for the piano!"

It's clear that Hammond, who is amiable and relaxed in conversation, had a good time. He sounds grateful and even perplexed at times over where music has taken him. "My whole career's been pretty heady," he says.

John Hammond's old-school blues get a new-school touchup.
John Hammond's old-school blues get a new-school touchup.


John Hammond opens for Hot Tuna on Saturday, August 4, at the Culture Room, 3145 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25. Visit www.cultureroom.net.

Hammond's upcoming appearance reunites him with old friend Jorma Kaukonen, who appears with Hot Tuna.

"To be down in Florida in August is not my ideal time to be there," he laughs. "But I went to school with Jorma. I was 18, he was 19, at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. It was 1960 and '61. He could play already, and I used to watch him. I did not play the guitar when I got there, but I saw everybody playing acoustic. It was the folk-revival time. I said, 'I'll give it a shot,' so I got a guitar, and a year and a half later, I was playing professionally. Jorma and I have remained friends ever since, 47 years — yikes!"

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