Friday, July 30, 2010

Tom's in town: Whoa! Dude! Freebird! Whoo!

Dude’s a monster, a triple threat — drummer, writer, producer. Yeah, on the left wearing the Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt. Old friend Tom  Hambridge, one of the original members of Parker Wheeler’s Blues Party back ... nah, forget it. It couldn’t possibly be almost two decades since he first started working the weekly sessions at the Grog, right? And why Skynyrd, you might ask? Old school nostalgia? Nah, because they’re pals … and soon-to-be shipmates. Hambridge, now living in Nashville, and his band, the Rattlesnakes, will be sailing and wailing with Skynyrd and a dozen other bands on a four-day cruise from Tampa to the Grand Cayman islands in January. And because he wrote five of the tunes on "Vicious Cycle," the Southern rockers’ latest album — surprisingly, a name without an inappropriate “y” in sight — and one on their platinum-selling "Thyrty,” a greatest hits collection that cannot make the same claym. 

(Purist alert here: Skynyrd has only two original members: Billy Powell and Gary Rossington.) Hambridge, who played the Grog sessions from 1992 to 1998, is something of a writing machine. He’s also got four tunes on “Cost of Living,” the new Delbert McClinton album, one on the new Meat Loaf album, as well tunes on new albums by Jeffrey Steele, Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi and Shemekia Copeland. Since setting up shop in Music City a dozen years ago, he’s also produced Tedeschi's Grammy-nominated "Just Won't Burn" disc, and produced and written a song on George Thorogood's latest, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart. He's also grabbed a 2005 Grammy nomination for producing Johnny Winter’s "I’m a Bluesman." And released three albums of his own. His latest, "Bang n' Roll," is the follow-up to "Balderdash," which produced two Triple A hit singles. And on and on it goes with this guy. All of which explains why EMI sunk its corporate teeth into his musical butt, signing him up on a publishing deal. Every once in a while he manages to shake some time free and get out on his own, and that will happen next week, as TH, as we used to call him back in the day, reconnects with Wheeler and the guys from the Blues Party. He’ll play from 7 to 11 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Grog, 13 Middle St. Tickets are $7. But, wait a minute, it seems like we're forgetting something. It seems like he's got something else going on round here. What is it, what is it ... Oh, yeah. He's opening for George Thorogood at the Hampton Beach Casino on Aug. 3. Cost you 28 bucks to walk in the door there, 46 if you want a good seat.

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