Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts critically-acclaimed new album ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ (Wicked Cool Records) is making waves across the pond.
In its debut week, the album landed on multiple UK charts including #7 Indie Album Breakers, #10 Record Store, #22 Independent Albums, and #82 Overall Albums, capping off a career-best for the band, a transatlantic collaboration, with frontman Ryan Hamilton hailing from just outside of Fort Worth, TX, while his backing band The Harlequin Ghosts are based in the U.K.
The LP has also generated high praise on social media from the likes of Frank Turner, Clem Burke, Drew Carey, Benmont Tench and Clint Boon of Inspiral Carpets and more.
The follow up to 2019’s ‘This Is The Sound’ (which won an Independent Music Award for ‘Best Indie Album’), ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ was written by Ryan during a long road trip across the USA with his dog Peaches, while coming to terms with his recent divorce. He filmed the trek, which resulted in ‘Communique’– an inspiring and deeply personal 7 part mini-documentary, which premiered on Glide Magazine.
And now, the songs of Nowhere To Go But Everywhere in Ryan’s own words…
Only A Dream
You know when you’re a kid, and you have a really bad dream, then you wake up and have the relief of, “it was only a dream.” This song is a grown-up version of that. Unfortunately when it comes to things like divorce, you can’t wish it away…or wake up. This song is about hoping something isn’t really happening, then dealing with the harsh realization that it is.
Super proud of the concept of this song. Flipping all those classic songs on their heads. Plus, I got to sing it with my friend Kay Hanley.
Jesus & John Lennon
Do you ever feel like, no matter what, some things are destined to fall apart? No matter what you do, the end result is the same. This song is about that, and I was thrilled to take the concept, and the song, to the next level, by having the opportunity to co-write it with Stevie Van Zandt.
Out Of My League
This is a song idea that was almost 10 years old. I found the old demo, and it rang true, considering what I was going through. So, I revisited the song, and reworked it into the version that it is now.
Let’s Go Slow
Dating after divorce is terrifying to me. This song is about the fear of dating again, after a relationship ends. There’s SO MUCH to navigate in today’s dating world. I wish things were simpler.
Can I Get An Amen
I was raised in church. We went two times a week to a very conservative Church of Christ. The struggle finding happiness, without all the guilt, is something I still deal with. Drugs, alcohol, sex…these very un-“Christian” things are all a part of my life. Not in a dangerous way. I’m a responsible adult. But sometimes, because it’s engrained in me, I feel like I’m going to Hell.
Don’t Fall Apart
This song is really a pep talk to myself. Sometimes, when things are especially difficult, all you want to do is give up. But you can’t. It’s important to keep it together for your family, and friends…but you have to get to a point where you LOVE YOURSELF enough to want to keep going.
I didn’t even know what a “Geordie” was until I met my ex-wife. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by Geordie women. I love their whole bad-ass attitude. Zero tolerance for bullshit. A tough exterior, but a big heart. Throwing some Geordie slang into the chorus of a new song is something I never thought this Texas boy would do. Haha.
Possibly my all time favorite Tom Petty song. I was so excited to put this song on the album, and I’m super proud of the version we created. It feels special. I think Tom would like it.
We Gave It Hell
When a relationship ends, you have a choice. You can let it consume you, or you can find a more positive way through it. I think it’s important to realize that sometimes, even though we give it hell, and do our best…it just isn’t going to work out. So, you say goodbye, wish the person well, pick up the pieces, and move on.
Pick Yourself Up
What’s the saying? Every end is a brand new beginning. I got that quote a little wrong, but you get the gist. Having the realization that a marriage ending is only a short chapter, in the book of life, was a BIG moment for me. I’m determined to make the rest of my story a good one.
About Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts
The open road has beckoned to generations of artists, writers, and seekers of authentic experience. For acclaimed singer/songwriter Ryan Hamilton, jumping into a minivan with his pup Peaches and driving from home near Fort Worth, Texas through the Southwest out to California last fall was not just catharsis, it was an unexpected impetus to create ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere,’ his formidable new album with The Harlequin Ghosts.
“I actually own Jack Kerouac’s belt,” Ryan reveals, referencing the legendary 1950s beat poet whose classic work ‘On The Road’ provides the album’s title. “I got it from the folks who handle his estate. It’s a cherished possession. The belt is actually pictured on the back of the new album art. Kerouac is a hero, and because of the way this album was written, his spirit is all over it.”
Hamilton made sure to drive along Route 66, the fabled American highway immortalized in song by Nat King Cole and The Rolling Stones. “While it was magical to take that storied route, it was more like driving through a graveyard version of what once was. Though ominous, it was still darkly beautiful.”
Those weeks adventuring out west gave Ryan time to reflect in the wake of his recent divorce.
Releasing September 18 on Wicked Cool Records, ‘Nowhere…’ follows quickly on the heels of the band’s 2019 label debut ‘This Is The Sound,’ which won Album of the Year at the Independent Music Awards and was praised as “masterful” (RPM) and “spectacular” (Adam Duritz of Counting Crows). Both the title cut and “Mamacita” were playlisted on more than 100 U.K. radio stations and heard throughout Europe and the Americas on syndicated radio.
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented Hamilton from accepting the IMA in New York, but he channeled his early quarantine energy into the recording of the ‘Incommunicado’ EP, which hit #1 on the iTunes Country Albums chart in the U.K. Proceeds from the sale of the EP were donated to the Music Venue Trust’s “Save Our Venues” campaign, a cause he’s passionate about from years of dedicated touring in the U.K., where the rest of his band is based.
Live highlights of the ‘This Is The Sound’ campaign included shows with The Alarm in the U.K. plus their Gathering festival in Wales and New York City, a U.S. tour with Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, and featured NYC appearances at Duritz’s Underwater Sunshine fest as well as opening for Jesse Malin and guest Lucinda Williams on a live SiriusXM broadcast.
Wicked Cool honcho Stevie “Little Steven” Van Zandt has long championed Ryan’s talents. “The best advice he ever gave me was, ‘Get away from yourself,” Ryan shares. “But really, the songs are still coming from personal experience.”
Many of the ten new tunes – the album also includes a heartfelt cover of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” – were written on a guitar Ryan found on the road trip, at Norman’s Rare Guitars in the San Fernando Valley. “Norm and I got to talkin’, and before I knew it, I was leaving with a vintage Martin acoustic. That guitar feels like my child.”
Most of the album was recorded with producer Dave Draper just days before the pandemic hit, during a February 2020 U.K. tour. The rhythm section of Mickey Richards (drums) and Rob Lane (bass) return, while featured guests include Mike Peters of The Alarm (backing vocals on “Jesus & John Lennon”) and Kay Hanley of Letters To Cleo (vocals on “Oh No”).
The anthemic “Can I Get An Amen,” released as a single in January, and new single “Jesus & John Lennon” were both co-written with Van Zandt. “Oh No” builds its upbeat narrative through referencing Ryan’s own favorite classic records, from Nirvana and Oasis to Curtis Mayfield and The Clash, and “flipping them on their heads,” he says.
“Newcastle Charm” speaks to Ryan’s special connection with the North East English city where he’s played countless shows and also met his ex-wife. “Women from Newcastle have this really tough exterior. I like the idea of breaking through that and finding a big heart.”
After cutting his teeth with the bands Smile Smile and People On Vacation, the 2016 single “Fuck You Brain,” with Ginger Wildheart was named Track of the Week by Classic Rock Magazine. The album ‘Devil’s In The Detail’ as Ryan Hamilton and The Traitors caught Stevie’s ear in 2017, after which the backing band became known as The Harlequin Ghosts. RH and The HG’s are now very familiar to satellite radio listeners thanks to heavy rotation of numerous tracks.
The latest Wicked Cool release distributed by The Orchard, ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ is a top marketing priority for the label, whose 2020 slate also includes new music from Jesse Malin, WYLDLIFE, The Empty Hearts, Kurt Baker and Jessie Wagner.