Fort Wayne musician Kevin Hambrick has been making scrappy pop records for the better part of the 21st century, starting in 2001 with Blueberry Hurricane.
Then in 2006, Hambrick released the first Orange Opera album, Land of Tall. From there, Hambrick would alternate between the Orange Opera and albums under his own name at a consistent and epic pace.
Hambrick is readying the release of his newest solo album, Clitter and the Clatter. It is another stunning collection of jagged pop tunes that lie somewhere between Robyn Hitchcock, Badfinger, and the Beatles with a pinch of everything else in between.
Hambrick sat down with Whatzup to answer some questions about the record and his songwriting process.
“Most of the songs were recorded throughout the last couple years,” Hambrick said. “Sometimes I’ll get on a roll and knock out songs quick, then take a break for a while until I get new ideas going. A few of the tunes were just demos that I kept adding stuff to because I get lazy with wanting to take the time to start a new recording.”
A big part of songwriting is finding inspiration to write. Where does Hambrick find inspiration?
“The influences come from everywhere,” he said. “I’d say this album touched on emotions from relationships, friends, and tragedies, and addictions, faith, and divorce, and my going-down-the-rabbit-hole conspiracies.”
Hambrick has also been known to record albums with nothing more than one microphone and a digital multi-track recorder. Is this still his recording process?
“I still record most my songs with one mic and run it into the old digital four track. I then run the four track to a cheap recording program on the computer so I can layer. I like the cheap effects on the four track that I’ve used for a lot of tunes.”
A standout song on Clitter and the Clatter is the beautiful “Wake Up and Recover.”
“‘Wake Up and Recover’ is a mix of situations,” Hambrick said. “Part of it, I believe, is about one of my friend’s personal situations with addiction that almost cost him his life. I’ve been there myself, but I don’t miss the chaos. I love living a clean and sober life and am truly grateful for how good I got it compared to the old days.”
He also thanked his childhood friend Mark Dunn for the album artwork and Matt Kelley for the album design.
Playing before the crowd
With every great album release, there should be a great album release show. Hambrick has one set up at The B-Side at One Lucky Guitar.
“I’ll be performing an acoustic version of the album for the show with possibly a couple of other folks jumping in on some songs,” he said. “It’s not the full rock-out version of the album, but I wanted to do a different kind of version for the release. The B-Side is a perfect spot and such a intimate feeling there where people actually go to listen. I love it.”
Are there any other gigs on the books?
“They’re scattered, one with Orange Opera, a couple with The Hambricks with my brother and nephew, and some solo acoustic shows,” Hambrick said.
Although the Orange Opera doesn’t play as much as they used to, Hambrick does have plans for the group.
“I have thrown the idea around of recording a new album together,” Hambrick said. “I have quite a few tunes we could still use that I haven’t recorded yet. I think it would be fun to get one started soon.”
The unknown future
Hambrick is unsure what the rest of 2019 looks like.
“I would love to release something with my brother being we haven’t put something out for 20 some years. But we say that every year. Stu writes some amazing songs, and we’re best buddies, of course. It’s all about having the time and energy to do things, but the right thing always happens regardless.”
Head to The B-Side at One Lucky Guitar on Friday, Feb. 22, for Hambrick’s album release show.
Subscribe to whatzup2nite for a chance to win a pair of passes to:
Legends Dat feat. Zac Brown Band
May 25 • Indianapolis Motor Speedway