Hamell on Trial
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|Hamell on Trial|
Hamell on Trial performing at World Cafe Live, Philadelphia PA in May of 2009
|Origin||New York City|
|Genres||Punk rock, anti-folk|
Edward James "Ed" Hamell, performing as Hamell on Trial, is an American punk rock, anti-folk, spoken word musician, described by Righteous Babe Records as "loud, fast music informed by politics, passion, energy and intelligence, played by a guy with a sharp tongue and a wicked sense of humor".
Born in Syracuse, New York, Hamell spent years as a member of many bands before venturing into the realm of the solo singer-songwriter. He finally got his big break when he moved to Austin, Texas and earned a residency at first the Chicago House and then the Electric Lounge.
Since then, he has released a number of albums on various labels, including Mercury Records, his own DiY label Such-A-Punch Media, and Righteous Babe Records, the label started by his longtime supporter and frequent touring companion, Ani Difranco. Ed has a son named Detroit; he is a young boy who was born in 2002. Detroit performed on Ed's album "The Happiest Man in the World". Hamell was seriously injured in a car accident in May 2000, but recovered from head and spinal injuries to release the album Ed's Not Dead: Hamell Comes Alive the following year. His touring covers the US, Europe, Scandinavia and Australia.
In 2008, with the breakup of his 22-year marriage, Hamell wrote a song a day for a year and posted a video of it on his YouTube channel hamelltv. It is now over 450 songs.
In 2014 Hamell signed to New West Records and released "The Happiest Man in the World". He began production on a one-man show with the same title based on the album and the demise of his marriage to be world premiered at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2014.
Hamell addresses poignant and controversial issues, but with a comic edge. Known for rapid and powerful strumming on his heavily amplified 1937 Gibson L-00 acoustic guitar, Hamell's musical styling is as far from traditional folk music as it is from the typical drum-heavy electric guitar ridden sounds of traditional punk music. His sound and composition is comparable to that of the Velvet Underground. Live performances also include extended jokes and comic anecdotes between songs, demonstrating Hamell's respect for the stand-up comedy of Bill Hicks, who is celebrated in the closing tracks of Hamell's album Choochtown.
- 1989 - Conviction (Blue Wave)
- 1992 - Letter to Mike (Self-Published, cassette only)
- 1996 - Big as Life (Doolittle/Mercury)
- 1997 - The Chord is Mightier Than the Sword (PolyGram)
- 2000 - Choochtown (Such-A-Punch Media)
- 2001 - Ed's Not Dead: Hamell Comes Alive (Such-A-Punch Media)
- 2003 - Yap (Such-A-Punch Media)
- 2003 - Tough Love (Righteous Babe Records)
- 2006 - Songs for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs (Righteous Babe Records)
- 2008 - Live From Edinburgh: The Terrorism of Everyday Life (Righteous Babe Records)
- 2008 - Rant and Roll (Righteous Babe Records)
- 2014 - The Happiest Man in the World (New West Records)
- 2017 - Tackle Box (New West Records)
Awards & honors
May 2007 - inducted into the SAMMY (Syracuse Area Music Awards) Hall of Fame
Aug 2007 - Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
May 2009 - Conveyor Awards of Excellence for Best Story Telling - Non-Theatrical & Best Musical Moments at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival
July 2009 - Directors' Award at the Capital Fringe Festival
- Proefrock, Stacia. "Hamell on Trial Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- Horowitz, Hal (27 February 2014). "Hamell On Trial: The Happiest Man in the World". American Songwriter. Retrieved 8 December 2014.