Those Hot Dusty Roads – An American Folk Singer’s Odyssey

by David Hamil
Foreword by Alex Herlihy

Those Hot Dusty Roads - An American Folk Singer's Odyssey, by David HamilFrom the late ’50s to the mid-’70s, Dave Hamil was a folk musician who played many coffee houses and clubs that featured folk music and occasionally comedians as entertainment.

He played and sang as a single and in many musical groups. He was accomplished on the guitar and excelled on the 5-string banjo. His jobs took him to towns in the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, the Midwest, California, and occasionally the Southeast. During his years performing on the road he discovered he was more interested in living and playing in places he enjoyed and being with people he liked, rather than the financial rewards that many sought in the music business. This book tells about some of the places he played and his recollections of the people he met traveling down that proverbial hot dusty road.

After a couple of shoulder injuries, he gave up the guitar and banjo and took up the concertina. He is content to play a duet concertina and sing the folk songs he played—or wished he’d played—when he was traveling around the country.

In addition to David’s wonderful musical talent, he was also an inventor and had a patent for a banjo mute. The banjo mute Dave invented created a nice, mellow guitar/harpsichord sound that sounded great with songs like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Long Black Veil,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “City of New Orleans.” His other invention was an automatic guitar player he named “The Silent Partner” — a mechanical machine that could accompany his banjo playing using the principle of a music box, combined with a loom. It can play nine chords in all keys with four different rhythm patterns at any tempo and is operated with a set of foot pedals. Dave passed away in Feb. 2020 and is survived by his wife Ellen Hamil, of Rye, NH, Taos, NM, and Las Vegas, NV.

Reader Comments

“I LOVE this book. What an historical document on the folk scene in the late ’50s and all through the ’60s. I remember being surprised that he stayed in The New Society as long as he did. We were a bunch of goofy amateurs next to this guy. And he was so gracious about it.” — Gary Mule Deer, “Laugh USA” (SiriusXM)

“Back in my high school days I used to frequent the coffeehouses in Omaha and probably my favorite performer I saw there was an exceptional banjo player named Dave Hamil. I just recently came across his biography chronicling his years as a traveling folk musician. Those Hot Dusty Roads follows Hamil’s adventures from Denver to Oklahoma City, Omaha., Kansas City, Los Angeles, Santa Fe., and lots of places in-between, playing music and meeting the colorful characters that populated the musical landscape of America, especially during those days of the Folk Revival. Written in a straight-forward and relatively unadorned style, we get glimpses of many of the other musicians and promoters that Dave ran across, some later famous, some lost in the fog of musical history.
“Among those Dave counted as friends, acquaintances and/or musical partners are the Smothers Brothers, John Denver, the Kingston Trio, The Limeliters, Mason Williams, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, The Dillards, and lots more.
“This is a book made for anyone interested in the folk scene of the late 1950s through the 1970s and the history of popular folk music. And for those of us who experienced part of this, it’s a marvelous ride down those hot dusty roads.”
Bob Bovee is a folk, bluegrass, cowboy musician and has written reviews and articles for The Old-Time Herald and Inside Bluegrass.

Product Details

Paperback, 6×9, 164 pages, photographs
2019, Published by Great Life Press
ISBN: 978-1-938394-36-2
Available on Amazon

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