Jefferson Hamer
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Jefferson Hamer

Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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"Jefferson Hamer’s Left Wing Sweetheart is a daring departure that dramatically succeeds"

He’s been successful twice before with the acoustic bluegrassy-ish Single Malt Band and as part of The Wayfarers, which was deemed one of the “best traditional Irish acts in the American Southwest.” And his kind, humble nature is as awe-inspiring as his playing.
Jefferson Hamer is the darling of the Front Range music scene and his newest album, Left Wing Sweetheart, is sweetly honest and displays Hamer’s roots along with his newest renditions of what music should be.
The album of original songs, which will be released this month, with a CD release party at Trilogy on Nov. 10, was recorded alongside Ben Kaufmann, not only of the Yonder Mountain String Band but also of the same Massachusetts high school Hamer attended before he hit CU. Along with Kaufman, is a veritable who’s who of Front Range musicians, including Sally Van Meter, KC Groves, Eric Deutsch and Mark Dalio.
Left Wing Sweetheart is, simply put, the album that Hamer needed to make. It’s a daring departure for the musician — a collection of songs which take Hamer out of his comfort zone, but in doing so, finds him as relaxed as a grandpa with a Sunday-morning paper.
Sometimes twangy, sometimes rockin’ and always heart-felt, Left Wing Sweetheart is as diverse as can be, without jumping all over the place.
Perhaps the only way to express the bright-eyed album’s sunny core is by words of advice on Hamer’s website: “Keep picking, listening to music, pile your bedside books high, get outside once in a while, and remember — records sound better than CDs.”
—    Alex Samuel - Marquee Magazine - Nov. 05

"Multifaceted "Left Wing Sweetheart" one of year's best"

It’s hard to find good rock and roll these days. Corporate buyouts of once vibrant FM stations by Clear Channel and other conglomerates over the past decade have largely left music lovers neutered. Where FM station DJs once played emerging sounds from across the spectrum, helping to expose new and emerging talent, Clear Channel stations stick to formulaic sounds shaped by advertiser-defined demographics. Adventurous music lovers are either left trolling the Internet for mp3s of the “next new thing” or simply abandoning the music as lifeblood obsession of their youth.
With all these foreboding forces at play, it’s a revelation to discover a local songwriter in my own backyard has made one of the best records of the year. Did I mention he lives in Lyons?
Yes, forget about the latest Sun Volt record and that CD from the latest British hipster band, and go buy Jefferson Hamer’s new CD “Left Wing Sweetheart.” Fans of the raw-nerve honesty of Neil Young and Richard Thompson’s best work will especially dig this album.
Hamer said “Left Wing Sweetheart,” his first rock and roll record, was a happy accident that turned his acoustic demos into electric guitar driven waltzes, organ-based grooves and fuzzed-out country gems.
He said he wanted to introduce drums to the project, which lead to other non-acoustic instruments and a flurry of feedback, after suffering from an acoustic music hangover. Hamer has long labored in the acoustic world with the folk-rock trio Single Malt Band, a 2002 Telluride Bluegrass Festival highlight, and the traditional folk ensemble, the Wayfarers.
There is some irony in the fact that Hamer paid for studio time for his new rock and roll record by playing traditional Irish and folk music.
But paying his dues in the folk/acoustic work is what makes the songs on “Left Wing Sweetheart,” really shine. 
Where some rock bands are all about a bombastic new guitar sound, burying the lyrics low in the mix, Hamer’s album has a gritty sound enveloping lyrics that pull no punches.
“In the acoustic world, you have to pay attention to lyrics,” said Hamer.
Hamer’s lyrics meticulously throw barbs at developers, drug sentencing laws, mass-market culture and old girlfriends who stick up for their Fox News watchin’ dads.
He knows how to turn a phrase to pull the listener in with captivating imagery as he does in the brooding lament “I Won’t Be Chasing You.” In the song, he sullenly intones to an ex-lover “I won’t be chasing you around like a rodeo clown.” 
The song has beautiful harmony vocals by local KC Groves and slide guitar by Sally Van Meter. Van Meter produced the album and helped Hamer pick the acoustic demos that ended up on the electrified album.
One thing that keeps the album fresh is the range in styles from the David Bromberg-esq lounge of “Free Market Girls” complete with grooving stride piano to “Euphrates River,” a tangy, country ballad about current events. The ballad warns of a post-apocalyptic world if environmental scores and foreign policy mistakes in the Middle East are not settled.
“It’s about a total disaster in the birthplace of civilization,” said Hamer.
With “Left Wing Sweetheart,” Hamer has established himself as a unique talent, who hopes to bring his new electrified sounds to more listeners and future albums.
He already got a chance to open for his idol Richard Thompson this fall and Hammer said he plans to mix in more of his electric songs with his other music projects. Thankfully, fans will get to hear further adventures in sound as Hamer plans a new rock and roll album in the near future.
Hamer is having a CD release party for “Left Wing Sweetheart” on Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Trilogy in Boulder. 

Genre: Alt-country/rock/folk
Similar artists: Neil Young, the Replacements, Richard Thompson, Sun Volt - Lyons Records, written by Damon Haley, published 11/05

"Great American Taxi's "Streets of Gold" - Album of the year so far."

Great American Taxi may have gotten their initial burst of
publicity by being Vince Herman’s post Salmon band, but the
other members – Jefferson Hamer on guitar and vocals, Chad Staehly on keys, Brian Schey on
bass and Jake Coffin on drums – have been part of Boulder’s flourishing music scene for a long
time, and bring considerable playing and songwriting skills to the table; this is certainly a band,
not a Vince Herman project, and having listened to their debut album, they could indeed be a
band to be reckoned with. Early Taxi live shows have been something of a hodge podge of
covers, the odd tune that Salmon used to play and the usual Vince wackiness with a few original
tunes thrown into the mix. The eleven songs here – the majority of which haven’t yet been played
live – will not simply expand the band’s live repertoire, but will add considerably to the depth and
quality of songs they can draw on.

Simply put, this is a terrific album. Despite the backgrounds of both Herman and Hamer, there’s
nothing even vaguely bluegrass here – this is Americana all the way. Opener Streets of Gold
kicks things off in fine style, a driving Hamer rocker with a catchy as Hell chorus, tight lead guitar
, some sweet organ work by Staehly, and uplifting lyrics about the search for a better way of life.
Herman takes the lead vocals on Ride, which has a sweet twang to it not a million miles from The
Band, and then its back to Hamer for the uptempo Lazy John before Vince slows it down with the
countrified Appalachian Soul , delivering some of the most heartfelt vocals I’ve ever heard him
sing and some gorgeous pedal steel. Four songs in, and Taxi have successfully staked out their
territory – a dash of rockabilly, a pinch of country, an echo of Gram Parsons all played group of
musicians that have obviously ‘clicked’ in a big way.

Straw Man continues the string of triumphs with a backbeat that sounds like a train rolling through
the open plains and some great acoustic guitar work, and it’s followed by a terrific cover of the
late, lamented Bad Livers’ Lumpy Beanpole and Dirt that actually ends up trumping the original,
no mean feat. The only word that can describe this is ‘rollicking’. New Direction starts with some
Hamer powerchords and wouldn’t have been out of place on his sadly neglected solo album Left
Wing Sweetheart, and then we’re off to more lighthearted territory with a spry cover of reggae
song My Collie , an ode to the joys of fragrant herbal intoxication that surprisingly isn’t sung by
Vince, and the funky New Orleans-meets-Little Richard All Cinched Up (first line : “too much
mollie and I’m all cinched up”), which has some hysterical lyrics about getting wasted and catching
a Wayne Newton show in Vegas. And yes, Vince does sing this one.

Up next is Hamer rocker Ball and Chain, a ode to hitting the road and finding freedom that has
some great lead guitar work, and is followed by Vince’s Wagon Wheel, a soulful love tune.
Closing out the album is an acoustic ballad version of opener Streets of Gold , and as much as
love the uptempo version, this one is simply haunting . The lyrics on the faster version come
across as resolute and determined, but the same words become more worldweary and fragile on
this take – you’re really not sure if the singer will actually make it to the better place he dreams of.
A fascinating example on how context can change the meaning of words completely.

Go buy this album right now. It’s better than any album Salmon ever put out, and it might even be
better than Hamer’s Left Wing Sweetheart, which was one of my favorite albums of 2005. Every
track is a home run, and that’s a real rarity these days. There’s songs on here that would sell in
the millions if they were performed by some famous guy from Nashville with a fake smile and a big
hat ; music this good deserves a much wider audience. Album of the year so far. - Jammed Online Music Magazine - written by Mark Burnell - published July 2007


2002 w/ Single Malt Band - "Single Malt Band"
2005 Jefferson Hamer - "Left Wing Sweetheart"
2007 w/ Great American Taxi - "Streets of Gold"



Jefferson was drawn to songwriting as a kid, making up verses and singing them into a tape recorder. He got his start performing live after graduating from college in 1999, playing gigs around Boulder, Colorado with the acoustic trio Single Malt Band. This band achieved national touring success because of strong writing and harmony singing, and their fast, bluegrass-styled picking endeared them to ready-to-party crowds. They released one self-titled studio album, earned favorable reviews from a host of local newspapers, and got to perform their own original music in front of 10,000 onlookers at a Telluride Bluegrass Festival headlining spot. Jefferson's ongoing interest in traditional Celtic music led to a month-long trip to western Ireland in the spring of 2003. He put in long practice hours on tenor banjo and fiddle, and in the next two years performed hundreds of concerts around Colorado with a lively traditional quartet called The Wayfarers. Members of the group have gone on to play in some of the top bands on the Irish circuit today, including the famed sinking-ship house band from the movie "Titanic," Gaelic Storm. In 2005 Jefferson released his first solo album of all-original songs called "Left Wing Sweetheart". The album earned a 4-star review in the Colorado music publication Marquee Magazine and was called "one of the best albums of the year" by his hometown newspaper The Lyons Recorder. That same year he began touring with a new Country/Rock/Americana outfit, Great American Taxi, playing electric 6 and 12 string guitar and singing original songs behind legendary Leftover Salmon frontman Vince Herman. GAT's studio release Streets of Gold features four of Jefferson's original songs, including the unforgettable title track. He is currently working on a new release of all original material, recorded at home and with friends, bought and paid for with dollars earned at hundreds of live concerts in clubs, theaters, and festivals all over the country. His engaging, rock-and-folk tinged sound has been compared to Gram Parsons, Ryan Adams, Richard Thompson, and legendary Irish acoustic artist Paul Brady.