Ron Hamrick is no stranger to songwriting, and with the release of his album Musings this month this is something that’s made clear. Beginning with Nothing Like a Rainy Day, the song has the simple set up of a folk or country rock ballad, though perhaps with a slightly more upbeat, lightly uplifting energy about it. The switch from the verse to the chorus is the most striking moment, a good indication of thoughtful songwriting – effective structuring – and furthermore, the final line of the hook, you can’t have a rainbow without the rain, is one that both sounds like a satisfying resolve and also sinks in as a familiar and memorable finisher.
As things progress, the style and even the genre of the songs evolves and mutates to highlight a number of different influences and sources of inspiration. Another Bottle Of Wine has much more of a big band sound to it, now leaning towards the honky-tonk side of things, still with a country twang, and still very much in keeping with the general thread that is the artist’s writing style and leading vocal performance.
Following this you get a track called Old Photographs, which, as the title is likely to imply, breaks things down to the mellow and emotional – a well placed, down-tempo piece offering a glimpse into the songwriter’s past and his general feelings about life. The great thing about this and in fact all the songs on the project is that these seemingly personal topics have been made entirely accessible and relevant to most who will listen. Another sign of an experienced songwriter.
Fly Like An Eagle reverts back to the warm and simplistic style and energy of the opening song, though in this case the chorus has something of an epic and powerful feel to it. This particular arrangement of chords, this particular hook melody, the poetic imagery of the lyrics, and the feeling that comes through in the artist’s voice at this point, all makes for something quite striking. This one is a definite highlight.
Will you fly like an eagle, put music in my ears..
As things move forwards throughout Those Crayons and I’m Living Life, you get even more of an insight into the man behind the music. It’s a wonderful progression of thoughts and melodies that carry you through. The subject matter becomes more unique around this point, more unexpected and, subsequently, more intriguing. You could in fact then go back and listen to the earlier songs in a different way, having experienced a little more of the songwriter’s full creative reach. Everything sounds different once you feel like you know a little more about it, it’s one of the great things about music, and something that often makes it so timeless.
The instrumentation used throughout the project has a distinct set up and style that remains fairly consistent. It’s very easy to picture a live performance, whether solo acoustic or with a full band, and that’s something to look out for. However, as mentioned, there’s occasionally a bigger moment of music, a flicker of a guitar solo, a snippet of something exotic and unpredictable, and all of this adds to the enjoyable variety of the project.
Ride Toward The Misty Dawn brings the melancholy back to the project, the reflective, pondering side of songwriting. And yet, brilliantly placed after this, I Ain’t Seen No Rain has exactly that instrumental evolution briefly mentioned, and precisely the upward shift in energy that is needed at this later point within the album. The fusion of this light yet distorted guitar riff and the dreamlike nature of the keys makes for something pleasantly unusual. You Make Me Who I Am comes afterwards and unfolds as a characterful piano ballad with yet more poetic imagery and reflective ideas of love and dedication.
The whole thing comes to a close with the upbeat and vintage sounding Those Old Rock Songs, a song which is just about everything you might hope for from something with such a title. The classic and very raw sound of original rock and roll glistens in a notably organic and live sounding manner. It’s a wonderful way to finish the collection.