Hal HammerHal Hammer, Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri on November 6, 1942. His father was a drummer in the “Big Bands” and his mother was a “Torch” singer. Hal first followed in his father’s footsteps and became a drummer. Growing up in the suburban area of St. Louis, Hal lived across the street from Bobby Caldwell. The two were friends and Hal’s first introduction to guitar playing, on stage, was in a Junior High Rock band with Caldwell. Bobby Caldwell was one of Chet Atkins’ first protoges’ and Caldwell later went on to become a jazz player and recording artist of national acclaim. Hal’s first real gig, however, was as a drummer. While playing as a drummer with “The Downbeats” on the DeBoliver Strip in St. Louis in the late 50’s, the band secured a gig as a house band for the Bandstand Club, owned by Chuck Berry. Influenced by Berry, Hal became a guitar player, recording and playing all over the USA and several European tours in the 60’s and 70’s.

Teased about being a “Kid Rocker” by Matt “Guitar” Murphy, who also played for Chuck Berry, Hal was influenced by Murphy to play blues and began concentrating on local blues venues in the St. Louis area, Chicago, and Memphis, rubbing elbows with Ike Turner (Ike and Tina were Hal’s neighbors for a while in St. Louis), Albert King, and a host of others. While living in Ft. Worth, Texas, Hal met a local player, Freddie King, who so impressed him as a “rulesbreaker” that Hal was driven to develop his own style of Blues playing.

After dropping out of the music scene for about 20 years to raise a family and develop a career, Hal resumed playing the blues in 1995. He played for more than a year with “Molten Mike”, named “Best Blues Act in Florida” and “Best Singer/Songwriter”, 5 years in a row. “Molten” was best man at Hal and Terri’s wedding and performed on their first CD, entitled “WEDDING JAM…LIVE AT THE ALTER” recorded live on the 4th of July!

Hal’s next blues career move was with “The Straight Up Blues Band”. Playing all over the Tampa Bay and South Florida area, the band placed 5th in the International Blues Band Competition Finals held in the Baseball Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. Their CD, “Stand up and Play”, sold out in record time.

Hal is now a performing artist for Southern Star Records and has recorded four CDs in recent years, including lots of originals and a duo effort with CD Morris, The Mississippi HooDoo Man. He is currently recording his 5th CD and two additional singles for radio and the charts. His newest single, “Can’t Play The Blues In An Air Conditioned Room” debuts July 19th in Nashville.

Hal has played with many groups over the years at such venues as the legendary “R&B Club” and the “544 Club”, both on famous Bourbon Street Strip in New Orleans. Other appearances include shows with Big Raymond and Mother Blues, Liz Pennock and Doctor Blues, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, “Preacher” Thomas, “Diamond” Teeth Mary, Ritchie Rich, and Damon Fowler. Hal has performed from border to border, coast to coast, from Charlie’s in Chicago to House of Blues in Orlando, the “Bone” in Dallas, The “Big” Room at Ceasar’s Palace in Lake Tahoe, the Blue Note, and many others.

Hal also is an author, and freelance photojournalist, having worked for Guitar Player Magazine, The Twelve Bar Rag, and various industry publications. He is a contributing editor to The Blue Book of Guitars and submits material regularly to many industry publications. A member of the Guild of American Luthiers, Hal designs and modifies electric guitars, as a hobby, collecting many instruments. Among his favorite instruments are a white Samick Charlie Christian Tribute model and several Samick “Artist Series” guitars, which he plays on stage and in the recording studio.

Hal is available for session work, blues projects, and special guest appearances.