Ross Hammond – ‘Riding Dragons in Winter’ (2018)

Share this:


Note: song above isn’t on album but very illustrative of what this album is like.

Humanity Suite was only four years ago but guitarist, composer and bandleader Ross Hammond has lately been in a much different place musically than that sophisticated, kaleidoscopic and sweeping record performed with a sextet. Hammond has since moved in the opposite direction, making simply-constructed, folk-based songs unplugged, initially in duos with a drummer (Grant Calvin Weston) and then a tabla player (Sameer Gupta). More recently though, it’s just been Hammond and his Resonator or National Steel guitar.

Riding Dragons in Winter is a ten-tune collection of his latest musings on these instruments of American rural music, and though he probably couldn’t be any further from the jazz he was playing earlier, Hammond does apply a jazz mindset in the sense of playing with a great deal of spontaneity. Using a lot of slide, the blues is very much present here as is the raga-like harmonics, with perhaps a touch of bluegrass. But any nod to a particular style is more in spirit than to the actual technique, which is more of a stream of consciousness thing.

And that’s really the whole idea of Riding Dragons in Winter because ultimately, the appeal is the soothing sounds of rustic Americana that oozes naturally from Resonator and Steel guitars alike. Yes, the music is relatively simple but when life gets too noisy and complicated, it’s time to return to elemental things. And here’s the perfect soundtrack for those times.

Riding Dragons in Winter is going on sale November 9, 2018.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at [email protected] .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
Share this:
Close