We discovered him three years ago on the occasion of his second album I burn. Already, we had felt this desire to marry a French song inspired by the great authors to text with music strongly impregnated with American culture. A duet with Miossec, of which he provides the first part, but also typically Americana melodies in the tradition of folk songwriters.
With his third opus until the light which will be released on April 8, Baptiste W. Hamon affirms his Anglo-Saxon influence even more by collaborating with John Parish, musician and producer who has signed the records of, among others, PJ Harvey, Tracy Chapman, but also Arno or Dominique HAS. “An old dream come true” confides the young singer who was even invited several days to the home of the producer. “John Parish is one of my favorite directors and one of the best in the world”.
From the opening track, Have a drinkwe settle in a country atmosphere. “I think it’s really the most country song I’ve recorded so far” says Baptiste Hamon. What instantly gives this musical color is the use of the Pedal steel guitar, this typically American instrument with western sounds. “That was my second requirement: to record with John Parish, and to have pedal steel on the album” adds the one who was rocked to the music of Townes Van Zandt or Kris Kristofferson.
Atmosphere reinforced by the theme of drinking songs that are often found among authors from across the Atlantic, from Johnny Cash to Willie Nelson, via Tom Paxton, Merle Haggard or the most recent Steve Earle. But alcohol was also sung at home by Brel, Reggiani, Arno or Miossec. So, bringing together texts in the language of Molière with the music of the great American spaces sounds obvious to Baptiste Hamon: “American music inspires me, my trips to the United States inspire me, but I also listen to old-fashioned French songs, from the 60s and 70s, at the same time as more current indie things, French or international.”
I listen to a lot of country, folk and Americana. And I want these influences to be heard in one way or another in my records
Baptiste W. Hamon
This country-folk color is reflected in particular by rather refined arrangements, never in emphasis. Sober and calm voice, sometimes slightly tampered with in Reunion with the coldacoustic guitar, discreet rhythm, female choirs… ingredients that are reminiscent of a certain Leonard Cohen.
Listening to Laugh beyond the flamesin duet with the Norwegian singer Ane Brun, one would almost swear to hear a cover of the Canadian, author of The Partisan Where last year man. But it is indeed an original composition by Baptiste Hamon.
The French songwriter confirms: “Leonard Cohen is one of my masters, probably the singer I’ve listened to the most and identify with the most.” No wonder then that we can hear analogies in writing and composition, especially in this song performed on a nylon-string guitar, in a picking typical of the Canadian songwriter.
He places text and language at the heart of his artistic and musical work. I recognize myself a lot in this process.Baptiste W. Hamon
about Leonard Cohen
And in this third album, Baptiste Hamon who considers himself “more like a writer and a singer than a musician”changed tone slightly. On these two previous discs, the young author had accustomed us to writing between melancholy and nostalgia with sometimes serious and sad subjects, such as the song herve. Here, he retains the themes of absence or loneliness, but this time framing them with two pieces with very different atmospheres.
“My writing is rather melancholy” recognizes Baptiste Hamon, “but it was important to me to start with a light song and end with a text of hope”. In effect, Have a drink invites to the party after two years of sanitary restrictions – “a song I wouldn’t have written before the Covid, before I missed all my friends” – while the revival of Jacques Bertin Here comes the sun again closes the album on a positive note turned towards “the desire to live”.
Between the two, the atmosphere is deeper without ever being overwhelming. A sweet melancholy, small moments of life, and the serenity found thanks to writing. “The night is made to exhaust the poems” sings Baptiste in until the light, the title track of the album. “This is the song that suits me the most” admits the songwriter whose desire to write remains intact after these long months in slow motion.
The covid has not dried up my inspiration, quite the contrary, and allowed me to write in different registers
Baptiste W. Hamon
Now comes the desire to tell these stories directly to people by reaching out to the public. Baptiste Hamon is going on tour all over France, and there is a good chance that he will come until the light and invites us to Have a drink.
Baptiste W. Hamon – “Until the Light” (Soleil Bleu-Manassas) – Released April 8
Find all the concert dates of Baptiste W. Hamon on his Facebook page