Hali Hammer | Eclectic Circus

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Folk: Singer/Songwriter Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Eclectic Circus

by Hali Hammer

An eclectic collection of original, mostly upbeat songs, ranging from acapella to full band, with nods to folk, country, blues, rock, reggae, depending on the cut.
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. In a World Gone Mad
3:38 $0.99
2. Every Time That I'm With You
4:31 $0.99
3. Interesting Times
5:12 $0.99
4. Will I Dream
4:20 $0.99
5. Redwood
3:12 $0.99
6. She Sang Him Bottle of Wine
5:04 $0.99
7. Mrs. Bogaty
3:30 $0.99
8. She's Something Else
2:35 $0.99
9. Isle of Hawaii
3:35 $0.99
10. My Dad
4:05 $0.99
11. Optimistic Song
3:51 $0.99
12. Angels Without Wings
4:49 $0.99
13. Summer Country Girl
3:30 $0.99
14. Married Missionary
2:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I've been writing songs for over four decades, and my writing is directly influenced by my life. When someone asks me what kind of music I like, I say "good". I don't like being tied to one or two genres.
I live in Berkeley California, with a large community of wonderful people, many of whom are also talented musicians. Thanks so much to the generosity and over-the-top excellence of the friends who helped me put this album together:
John Koch, who is a top-notch engineer and who contributed endless hours to making the production just right. (He's also our terrific lead guitarist with Jump-In)
My partner Randy Berge, a great guitarist who spent an incredible amount of time painstakingly developing the lead guitar parts so that they fit each song perfectly.
My buddy Paul Herzoff, incredible harmonica player, all around good guy and one of the funniest people on the planet, who not only contributed musically, but also did the photography and graphics, and worked with me on the album packaging design. He's the one that got me on the tightrope! (courtesy of photoshop...)
Allen Perkins, drummer extraordinaire, who made time for recording his parts at his studio even with his incredibly busy schedule. Through the miracle of digital technology and a flash drive, it all worked out.
My friends and family who sang background harmonies on "In a World Gone Mad", "Every Time That I'm With You", "Interesting Times", "She's Something Else", and "Married Missionary": Nancy Schimmel, Bonnie Lockhart and Leslie Hassberg from Occupella, Paul King and Paul Herzoff from Jump-In, Randy Berge, my daughter Bonnie McLane, and two of my granddaughters, Khadejha Valere and Amaiya McLane. I also sang in the mix on those songs and overdubbed my harmony vocals on "Will I Dream", "Optimistic Song" and "Summer Country Girl".
I played guitar and bass throughout the album.
You can visit my website at www.halihammer.com to find out more about me. You can also find several videos of me on YouTube. I also sing and play bass with Jump-In (folk and oldies, don't say it too fast!), play at marches, rallies etc. with Occupella (www.occupella.org) and perform with The ReSisters.

Eclectic Circus is a collection of originals, each cut very different from the next. Here's a bit about the individual songs:

1) In a World Gone Mad: A salute to good people with a catchy sing-along chorus. For every 4 lines of things wrong with the world, there are 8 lines of things that are right. A Calypso, upbeat number with guitars, bass, harmonica, drums, and lots of background.

2) Every Time that I'm With You: A cheerful love song with a slight reggae beat. As with most of my songs, it's a true story. Vocals, guitars, bass, harmonica, drums.

3) Interesting Times: Written during the height of the Occupy movement. This one is a rocking electric blues. (There’s an acoustic version on YouTube filmed at Occupy Berkeley). Vocals, guitars, bass, harmonica, and drums.

4) Will I Dream: Slow jazzy blues inspired by classic Irma Thomas ballads, with lead vocal, keyboard, guitars, bass, drums, and background vocals. An emotional vignette of a woman afraid to fall asleep and dream about that elusive "someone".

5) Redwood: My only a capella song, written from the perspective of the Redwood tree. A call to heal the planet. Solo vocal with background sounds of the forest.

6) She Sang Him Bottle of Wine: A spoken word folk story of a true experience interspersed with a rendition of Tom Paxton’s “Bottle of Wine”. A ballad with vocal, two guitars and bass.
Randy Berge and I were riding back to Berkeley from visiting friends in Ventura. He put on a CD by Bobby Charles (the person who wrote "See You Later Alligator" and "Walking to New Orleans") and there was a song called "Street People" with a line that went "hanging with the homeless". It brought back the memory of an encounter I had with a street person in NYC in the 70's. I went home and wrote the words, but didn't have a melody. At this point in my life I usually write both at the same time. When I read Randy the words I liked it that way, so I tell the story with background music, and the only vocal melody is when I sing Tom Paxton's "Bottle of Wine".

7) Mrs. Bogaty: A true story with a central European folk-style flavor. Two guitars, bass and vocal. When I was writing it, I called my mother to make sure the details were correct.

8) She's Something Else: A composite portrait of my women friends; a rocker with vocals, guitars, bass, harmonica, accordion, and drums.
I was at a jam and a friend was talking about how she was methodically falling apart. She said, "Well, the old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be" and I said, "No, she's something else!" After that the song wrote itself.

9) Isle of Hawaii: A dreamy soundscape, evocative of the spirit and magic of Hawaii. Vocals, guitar, bass, ukulele and slide guitar. Written on the plane coming back from my first trip to the Big Island.

10) My Dad: He was a city guy, born and bred in NY, but the song has a country-rock flavor. Vocal, guitars, bass, drums. I wrote this while my father was alive, and have always been grateful that he was able to hear it.

11) Optimistic Song: A cheerful, positive song with sparkling guitar lines and soaring harmonies. Vocals, guitars, bass, harmonica and a great sing-along chorus.
Yes, there are serious matters, but there's a lot to be said for putting things in a positive light or adding some humor to bad situations. I was at a camp ground playing a few of my songs around a fire, when someone asked me, "Why do you write such optimistic songs?" I went back to my campsite and wrote this one.

12) Angels Without Wings: Slow and moving ballad with a folk feel. Guitars, bass and vocal.
A sweet gift to two of my grandchildren, who were staying with me at the time it was written. After I played it for them, Khadejha (then age 6) just looked at me and softly said, "Play it again, Grandma!"

13) Summer Country Girl: A classic country-style story of a magical childhood. Vocal,guitars, bass, harmonica, featuring traditional fiddle and dobro.
I grew up in the Bronx, but my grandfather had a summer cottage in the mountains of New Jersey. (Please note: NJ is called The Garden State for good reason. It is mostly a beautiful place). I am forever grateful for his affording me a place to spend my summers outside of the city and learn to enjoy nature.

14) Married Missionary: A humorous true story set to straight up rock and roll with guitar/harmonica interplay, enhanced by bass, drums, and background vocals.
You can't make this stuff up...here's what happens when you're contacted 34 years later by the teen "love of your life"...and things are just a bit different…

I hope you find songs that resonate with you and that you enjoy what you hear. – Hali Hammer



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