2017 – Ham-Bone Music
By Phillip Smith; Jan. 28, 2018
Listening to Hamilton Loomis always puts me in a fantastic mood. His latest release, Basics, is no exception. Ditching the double-entendres he’s been known for in the past, Loomis states he wants to get back to the basics on this album, taking on more direct and personal lyrics with more stripped down instrumentation and simpler melodies. With that being said, this album is jam-packed with a truckload full of bluesy guitar riffs and rich funky grooves. Joined in the studio by Armando Aussenac on drums, Fabian Hernandez on saxophone, and Sabrina LaField on bass, Loomis takes on just about everything else instrumentally on this thirteen track album: guitars, bass, harmonica, and keys.
From the beginning, Loomis has me bouncing off the walls with the highly infectious rhythm on “Sugar Baby”. LaField sings this with a lot of soul, as Loomis’ sweet guitar riffs are nicely topped with dabs of blues harmonica. Loomis dedicated this track to Congenital Hyperinsulinism International, an organization whose purpose is researching and supporting families affected by this rare disease his three year old son was diagnosed with.
The groove keeps going strong through “If I Would’ve” as Loomis reflects upon his past decisions with second thoughts. “Candles and Wine” has a bit of Stevie Wonder influence. Its rich R&B melody and Loomis’ silky smooth vocals stand out front. The funk that pumps through “Cloudy Day” instantly puts a smile on my face. It is counter-balanced by the pining lyrics of long-distance love. Hernandez kicks it into high gear on sax. I love every bit of it. Welcome to the roadhouse when Chris Eger steps in with slide guitar on the monster blues-rocker “Ain’t What it Ain’t”. It sounds great alongside Loomis’ wailing harmonica.
Loomis certainly achieved what he was trying to do with this album, bringing things back to the basics. I like this new direction a lot.
In 2012, I reviewed Hamilton Loomis' DVD Live at the Hub for Blues Review Magazine's online presence BluesWax, which no longer exists. In 2015, I archived the review on my blog. You can read that review by clicking on the following link.