While American folk music has a long tradition of consciousness-rousing songs and singers -- especially in the '50s and '60s -- there aren't many fashionable equivalents; notable exceptions, of course, are Brit Billy Bragg and Ani DiFranco. Add to that list one Ed Hamell, better known as Hamell on Trial.
The cranky-pantsed Hamell is endorsed by none other than Ms. DiFranco, whose Righteous Babe label issued Hamell's latest opus, Tough Love
(she plays and sings on it too). Though Hamell is a seriously angry young man, his focused broadsides are laced with enough cheery punk-rock disdain, self-awareness, and engaging, rough-hewn tunefulness to charm even the most apolitical indie rocker. The garage-rocking "Halfway" gives a rap on the knuckles to Rolling Stone
, acquisitiveness, superficial celebrity, politicians, and even his preaching to the converted, with an insolently resigned yet magnetic chorus of "I mean, fuck it/ Why go halfway?"
Guaranteed Hamell goes the whole nine on Tuesday night.
Hamell on Trial plays at 9 p.m. Tuesday, February 8, at the Bamboo Room, 25 S. "J" St., Lake Worth. Tickets cost $5. Call 561-585-2583.