While Ryan Hamilton was busy making other plans, the pandemic meant that a touring life couldn’t happen. The prolific singer-songwriter isn’t very good at sitting still though, so he went for a plan B: releasing one song a month in 2021, on the 12th of every month, all year long. Such a musical tear-off calendar is easier said than done, but he succeeded, recording in isolation at his home studio in Texas, working remotely with go-to producer Dave Draper who added his magic from the UK. Although the 12th month has yet to begin, all 12 singles have now been brought together on the physical album 1221. It’s 12 pieces of excellent power pop – as we’ve been told personally: influenced by Tom Petty, Weezer, David Bowie, and Oasis – varying in tempo and rock ‘n’ roll level, but always really appealing, thanks to the well-found hooks, balanced instrumentation, relatable lyrics, and above all those distinctive, pleasant vocals. The first track in January was a cover of Spin Doctor’s How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Me), and we got two other covers that the musician made his own: Catherine Wheel’s Satellite (in April) and The Refreshments’ Banditos (in September). In addition, Bob Schneider and Chuck Prophet & Kurt Lipschutz provided previously unreleased original songs for this record, Babies and Big Man respectively. The self-written songs, however, are at least as strong. Standout track Deja Vu I Love You should be a radio hit, but actually so are Shots Fired, Do The Damage, and If Life Was A Movie. And we can already hear that the December tune, Ready To Love Again, is a beautiful piano ballad that leaves you hopeful for a new start. Will this finally be the big, worldwide breakthrough for the sympathetic, hard-working musician? If anyone deserves it, Ryan Hamilton is the one.
“A Soundtrack with all your favorite songs // A smile and some tears // A feeling like forever // And that damage disappears”
1221 is out now digitally and on CD through Wicked Cool Records.
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