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Hamell On Trial

Irish Show Dates
Sunday, February 24 - BOG LANE THEATRE Ballymahon, Co. Longford
Monday, February 25 - CYPRESS AVENUE Caroline Street, Cork
Wednesday, February 27 - WHELANS 25 Wexford Street, Dublin

New Album "The Terrorism Of Everyday Life: Live From Edinburgh"
Righteous Babe UK has released a live bootleg documenting Hamell's time in Edinburgh, Scotland back in August 2007 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This Limited Edition bootleg features the entire presentation of The Terrorism Of Everyday Life and is now available on

Ed Hamell picked up the guitar at age 7 and started writing songs not long after. In his early 20s, Mr. Hamell was the front man and writer for an original band, but local bands were a dime a dozen in the tough, working class neighborhoods in Syracuse, NY. So he launched a one-man act called "Hamell on Trial."

Armed with his battered 1937 Gibson acoustic guitar, Mr. Hamell toured the country, then settled in Austin, Texas, where he found a receptive audience for his esoteric mix of songs and story telling. In 1995, Mercury Records signed him straight out of the SXS Music Conference and released Big as Life and The Chord is Mightier than the Sword.

A few years later, and a move to Brooklyn, NY, brought Mr. Hamell and Ani DiFranco together. He signed with Righteous Babe Records and released Tough Love in 2003, followed by Songs for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs in 2006. Subsequently, he has toured extensively with Ms. DiFranco, and has collaborated with her on several songs.

Performing in and around the New York scene prompted Mr. Hamell to rediscover the roots of his hurricane-force musical style and authentic cutting edge world view. His response, The Terrorism of Everyday Life, is a one-man theatrical show which combines story telling, comedy and songs into a brilliantly outrageous theatrical event. Mr. Hamell explores family, politics, religion and death through his journey as a working musician, man of the street, and father of a young son.

Mr. Hamell was invited to perform at the 2007 Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, where The Terrorism of Everyday Life earned five-star reviews in the Metro, Edinburgh Review, and Three Weeks, and was awarded the Festival's prestigious Herald Angel Award, the highest honor the Festival gives to the most outstanding performance each year


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Ed Hamell, who performs under the name Hamell on Trial, managed to build a steady following for his anti-folk, punk rock-influenced acoustic music. Alternating between brash and funny, his sound has more in common with rock than the gentle folk-singers of yore. Hamell on Trial got its start in upstate New York, where Hamell split from the band he was playing with and enjoyed a brief stint at Syracuse's Blue Wave Records. He eventually decided that a journey south might be beneficial to his musical career and relocated to Austin, TX.

Soon after arriving in Austin, he won a steady gig playing Friday nights at the Electric Lounge. His first shows alienated the audience, but soon he built a fan base that could tolerate music with a harder edge and his shows began to draw more than 500 people every week. He signed a recording contract with Austin's Doolittle Records in May 1994 and released his debut album, Big as Life, soon afterwards. His performance at the South by Southwest conference won him a contract with Mercury Records, who chose to re-release his debut, as well as several subsequent albums, including 1997's The Chord Is Mightier Than the Sword and 2000's Choochtown. Hamell did his part to promote these releases with his relentless touring, playing up to 250 shows per year until May 2000 when he was seriously injured in a car accident. After recovering from his head and spinal injuries, he released Ed's Not Dead: Hamell Comes Alive in 2001, and could often be found playing shows near his new home in Brooklyn, NY.

Born in Syracuse, NY, Ed Hamell started many a band before grasping the appeal of autonomy: the solo musician’s ability to write a song and perform it the same evening. Freed from the spiritual and financial burdens of a full band, he found himself with a bunch of new songs and a gig at a benefit concert. “I had never played solo before and never really listened to acoustic music,” he recalls. “Every musician in town was going to be there, so, knowing that I was going to be scrutinized, and also to differentiate myself from the James Taylors of the world, I decided to call it Hamell on Trial, figuring it would be a one-time deal. After the show, I was offered a record deal from a local label, something I had never come close to in my band years, so even an idiot like me realized I was on to something, and the name stuck.”
The Trial eventually adjourned for Albany, NY, where a steady Wednesday night gig at a place called the Half Moon Café drew a whopping 10 to 12 people a week. That lucky few got to witness the musician incorporating elements of comedy, theatre, spoken word, and even a cheek-shaking “face solo” or two as Hamell attempted to further stake a claim for himself far from standard singer-songwriter territory. At the same time, he notes, “I realized that the sonic structure of the acoustic guitar was broader than that of the electric guitar, so I could fill in where the bass and drums would be, all by myself.” But it was only after another relocation—this time to Austin, TX—that things started to click, including a regular spot at The Electric Lounge, a showcase at South By Southwest, and a contract with Mercury Records which ultimately produced two albums (Big as Life and The Chord is Mightier Than the Sword; highlights of both were later collected as Mercuroyale).

Parting ways with both the Lone Star State and his major-label home, Hamell moved to New York in 1997 and started Such-A-Punch Media so he could self-release his next disc, Choochtown, an interconnected collection of songs about drunken, disaffected characters of the sort he’d met while tending bar back in Syracuse. “A lot of them are true stories,” he says about his career-long tendency to write about criminals and other shady sorts. “I gravitate to the darker stuff. I’ve been accused of being misanthropic, but in reality, I hope I affectionately give voice to the disenfranchised, and they’re infinitely more fun to write about than Christians or Republicans.”

A serious car accident while touring waylaid Hamell on Trial for a year, during which time he started work on a one-man play. Before he could finish it, however, the European success of Choochtown encouraged him to tour the continent, and an invitation to open a number of U.S. shows for longtime supporter Ani DiFranco led to a live album, Ed’s Not Dead/Hamell Comes Alive. 2003 brings the new studio album, a monthly column in UNCUT Magazine, plans for a live DVD, and a UK tour. If that sounds like a lot for one band let alone one man to take on, you obviously haven’t seen Hamell on Trial in action.

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