“Ryan Hamilton has written a poignant and confessional album that could well be the best of his career.”- RPM Online
“…a near perfect-slice of American(a) radio-rock”- Music-News.com
“…spirit refreshing..”- Original Rock
Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts will release their new album ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ on September 18th via Wicked Cool Records.
The follow up to 2019’s ‘This Is The Sound’ (which won an Independent Music Award for ‘Best Indie Album’), ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ was written by Ryan during a long road trip across the USA with his dog Peaches, while coming to terms with his recent divorce. He filmed the trek, which resulted in ‘Communique’– an inspiring and deeply personal mini-documentary, part five of which debuted this week on Glide Magazine. Check back on the site each week for new episodes, all leading up to the release of ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere.’
Ryan describes the album as, “a group of songs about heartbreak, and finding yourself.”
A transatlantic collaboration, Ryan hails from just outside of Fort Worth, TX, while his backing band The Harlequin Ghosts are based in the U.K.
The open road has beckoned to generations of artists, writers, and seekers of authentic experience. For acclaimed singer/songwriter Ryan Hamilton, jumping into a minivan with his pup Peaches and driving from home near Fort Worth, Texas through the Southwest out to California last fall was not just catharsis, it was an unexpected impetus to create ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere,’ his formidable new album with The Harlequin Ghosts.
“I actually own Jack Kerouac’s belt,” Ryan reveals, referencing the legendary 1950s beat poet whose classic work ‘On The Road’ provides the album’s title. “I got it from the folks who handle his estate. It’s a cherished possession. The belt is actually pictured on the back of the new album art. Kerouac is a hero, and because of the way this album was written, his spirit is all over it.”
Hamilton made sure to drive along Route 66, the fabled American highway immortalized in song by Nat King Cole and The Rolling Stones. “While it was magical to take that storied route, it was more like driving through a graveyard version of what once was. Though ominous, it was still darkly beautiful.”
Those weeks adventuring out west gave Ryan time to reflect in the wake of his recent divorce.
Releasing September 18 on Wicked Cool Records, ‘Nowhere…’ follows quickly on the heels of the band’s 2019 label debut ‘This Is The Sound,’ which won Album of the Year at the Independent Music Awards and was praised as “masterful” (RPM) and “spectacular” (Adam Duritz of Counting Crows). Both the title cut and “Mamacita” were playlisted on more than 100 U.K. radio stations and heard throughout Europe and the Americas on syndicated radio.
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented Hamilton from accepting the IMA in New York, but he channeled his early quarantine energy into the recording of the ‘Incommunicado’ EP, which hit #1 on the iTunes Country Albums chart in the U.K. Proceeds from the sale of the EP were donated to the Music Venue Trust’s “Save Our Venues” campaign, a cause he’s passionate about from years of dedicated touring in the U.K., where the rest of his band is based.
Live highlights of the ‘This Is The Sound’ campaign included shows with The Alarm in the U.K. plus their Gathering festival in Wales and New York City, a U.S. tour with Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, and featured NYC appearances at Duritz’s Underwater Sunshine fest as well as opening for Jesse Malin and guest Lucinda Williams on a live SiriusXM broadcast.
Wicked Cool honcho Stevie “Little Steven” Van Zandt has long championed Ryan’s talents. “The best advice he ever gave me was, ‘Get away from yourself,” Ryan shares. “But really, the songs are still coming from personal experience.”
Many of the ten new tunes – the album also includes a heartfelt cover of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” – were written on a guitar Ryan found on the road trip, at Norman’s Rare Guitars in the San Fernando Valley. “Norm and I got to talkin’, and before I knew it, I was leaving with a vintage Martin acoustic. That guitar feels like my child.”
Most of the album was recorded with producer Dave Draper just days before the pandemic hit, during a February 2020 U.K. tour. The rhythm section of Mickey Richards (drums) and Rob Lane (bass) return, while featured guests include Mike Peters of The Alarm (backing vocals on “Jesus & John Lennon”) and Kay Hanley of Letters To Cleo (vocals on “Oh No”).
The anthemic “Can I Get An Amen,” released as a single in January, and new single “Jesus & John Lennon” were both co-written with Van Zandt. “Oh No” builds its upbeat narrative through referencing Ryan’s own favorite classic records, from Nirvana and Oasis to Curtis Mayfield and The Clash, and “flipping them on their heads,” he says.
“Newcastle Charm” speaks to Ryan’s special connection with the North East English city where he’s played countless shows and also met his ex-wife. “Women from Newcastle have this really tough exterior. I like the idea of breaking through that and finding a big heart.”
After cutting his teeth with the bands Smile Smile and People On Vacation, the 2016 single “Fuck You Brain,” with Ginger Wildheart was named Track of the Week by Classic Rock Magazine. The album ‘Devil’s In The Detail’ as Ryan Hamilton and The Traitors caught Stevie’s ear in 2017, after which the backing band became known as The Harlequin Ghosts. RH and The HG’s are now very familiar to satellite radio listeners thanks to heavy rotation of numerous tracks.
The latest Wicked Cool release distributed by The Orchard, ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ is a top marketing priority for the label, whose 2020 slate also includes new music from Jesse Malin, WYLDLIFE, The Empty Hearts, Kurt Baker and Jessie Wagner.