While relatively new to music, John Wort Hannam has made quite the repuation for himself. The Juno-nominated musician made a niche for himself by focusing on the storytelling in his music.
“I would say it’s narrative – it’s lyrically driven music. It is storytelling,” he told The Free Press from a hotel room in Kansas City. “It’s played on acoustic instruments and it’s basic folk chord progressions. I think if someone were going to slot me into one of the major genres, they would say yeah, ‘he’s a folk singer’.”
Hannam, who hails from southern Alberta, dedicated his life to music in 2001 after leaving a teaching career.
“I quit teaching in 2001 and I put out the first record in 2003 and I’ve put out a record every two years since – I’m on the sixth one now. It was one of those things where most of the people I talked to when I said I was going to quit teaching and write songs laughed at me,” he said. “I don’t know how people gauge success but what I wanted to do was pay my bills and pay my mortgage and feed my family and I thought if I could do that by playing music, that is a form of success and I have been able to do that along the way.”
Hannam will be on tour in support of his new album. Love Lives On, which was released in the fall. Michael Hepher at Clawhammer Press designed his new album, and that is where he will be playing on the Fernie stop of the tour.
“It’s little places like that, like the Clawhammer Press shop, and there is this whole resurgence of house concerts and I kind of feel like that is the way music used to be played,” said Hannam.
“A lot more music is played in places like that than massive auditoriums and arenas. I feel like that is the perfect setting for the kind of music I play and write.”
With a heavy tour schedule, Hannam tries to exercise and eat well, tactics he says are key to success on the road.
“Don’t eat crap, don’t eat drive thru food after a show. I try to get up in the morning and put on my running shoes and go for a run,” he said. “The thing about being a musician, especially in Canada, it’s pretty easy to sit in a car all day for anywhere from four to six hours. You kind of almost expect a four to six hour drive everyday,”
On Mar. 9, Hannam will be playing along with musician Bob Hamilton at the Clawhammer Press.The show is set to start at 8 p.m. and tickets will be sold at the door.