Hamell On Trial
The Pandemic Songs
Edward Hamell – “Hamell On Trial” – has been releasing his caustic folk music since 1989 with Conviction, and since then he’s been on a roll with albums such as 1999’s Choochtown and Songs for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs from 2006. He combines the passion of punk rock with an uncensored mouth, and I bet you there isn’t a lie among his 15+ releases. He’s intense, brutal, caring and does not give a rat’s ass whether you like it or not.
His newest, The Pandemic Songs, recorded in 3 days to his cell phone is a sharp look at the world we all must live in now, as Covid-19 uproots everything. Made with his son Detroit, the albums 9 songs touch on everything from the isolation of quarantine (“Little Camus”) to things that you can’t do right now with “All the Things I Miss”. “No Problem” offers Hamell’s solution to those among us that won’t abide social distancing and masks while wearing their maga hats – basically, the rest of us will take advantage of health care while the Trump supporters wither away in a corner, and as he says…”I got no problem with that”. “Social Distancing” tells the tale of a murderous female from Arizona who’s idea of distancing is absolute – it’s hysterical, in it’s own way.
Hamell is a direct musical descendant of Pete Seeger – unafraid to speak the truth, unflinching before the world, a talented songwriter who long ago dispensed with the bullshit in order to tell his tale. Now, The Pandemic Songs might not be everyone’s notion of escapist art, but it rings with our shared experiences, our dashed hopes, our anger, our frustration, and ultimately, we pray, our release from this hell. Hamell On Trial is exactly what some of us need right now – like it or not. Preach, Hamell, preach.