BEN RICE AND LUCY HAMMOND
IDA MAE–OH LORD–WANTS ME BACK AGAIN–TURN MY BACK ON YOU–MUDDY WATER
A chance meeting at an accidental double-booking back in 2011 paired together two very dynamic talents, Portland-based Ben Rice and Lucy Hammond. Reaching to the Delta and the juke joints of Mississippi for inspiration, these two were finalists in the 2015 IBC’s, and have just released an EP, “Destination Clarksdale.”
Ben’s guitar and duet vocals with Lucy take a minimalist, less-is-more approach to the arrangements of these songs, each individual feeding off the emotions of the other. They begin on a playful, somewhat sexually-charged note with Ben imploring “Ida Mae, please let me be your man!” Their haunting duet on “Oh Lord” deals with people who are prone to hurt the ones they love, while they exhort salvation thru the testifyin’ realization that “I’ve sinned, but the Lord Wants Me Back Again.” “Turn My Back On You” is a love story with a contemporary feel, and the set closes on perhaps its most powerful note, as Lucy sings of an intense spiritual need that can only be fulfilled by a trip down to the “Muddy Water to soothe my soul.” Ben’s dobro is dead-on target, and Lucy’s vocal recalls the days of field hollers, when the blues was young.
Ben Rice and Lucy Hammond have proven that they can breathe new life into the music borne of the Delta, cotton fields, hard times, and hope for a better day. Here’s hoping for a full set from them soon, but “Destination Clarksdale” is an excellent introduction! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.