I got my first rock ’n’ roll record when I was 9 years old. It was The Eagles’ Hotel California album, and I’m pretty sure the appeal was its popularity, the crazy gatefold and the fact that The Eagles sounded a lot like a dude band. Though I would like to say that introduction to rock music remains a sentimental favorite, the truth is if I never listen to that record again, it will be too soon.
That’s because musical tastes are tricky. It’s something that has to develop – a sort of metaphysical puberty process. The things that we come to love and that become – and remain – important to us usually aren’t found in those first few experimental purchases or the songs memorized off the radio during elementary school carpool. Those are an introduction to music. Taste comes later.
For me, developing a musical vocabulary began when I was about 15. That was when, through a network of friends’ older siblings and my own obsession with the Rolling Stone review pages, I discovered much of the music that would form the foundation for everything I have listened to and come to love since then. It was the year I discovered punk rock and Prince, the year I began to develop a love of soul music and discovered a Godfather living in my own hometown.
I’ve often wondered what might have happened had I had a way of expressing that early passion. It wouldn’t occur to me to write about the music or try making my own for a few more years. The fact that I did proved to be formative, and I know I was lucky. Still, I wonder what if …
You see, I believe the greatest music isn’t dependent on technique and proficiency. It’s not a craft. It’s an art. Music, in its highest form, is about emotional resonance and imagination. The songs I love are the ones I believe to be true. And nobody believes in expressing their personal truths – for better or worse – as vehemently as a 15-year-old.
Which is what makes Posh Hammer, an Asheville, N.C., act returning to Augusta to play Sky City on Thursday, July 10 – its second engagement in as many months – such an interesting act. Doors open at 8 p.m. and music starts at 10. Admission is $3.
Comprised of twin 15-year-old sisters, their 16-year-old brother and a 16-year-old drummer, they live in that sweet spot where music has become essential and catharsis a natural state. Though a distinctive Hammer style is yet to emerge – the roots of the band’s electric boogie can surely be found in the number of early ’70s arena rock classics populating their collective collections – the band does feel honest.
There are, of course, a lot of things that can happen to this band. They can – as so many do – become jaded and lose that innocence that makes them so interesting. That would be a shame.
They might also discover new musical interests, morphing into a completely different sort of ensemble. That, of course, represents a more interesting fate.
What will not happen is this band will not remain 15. They are getting older every day and, as music often serves as a snapshot of an act at a specific moment in time, this is a particularly interesting moment to check out Posh Hammer. They may well remain serious about music, but this band will probably never feel it quite a purely as it does right now.
STILL TIME TO GET AMPED. Just a reminder. We will continue to accept submissions for 2014 AMPED: The Augusta Chronicle Music Contest until midnight Saturday, July 5.
The rules, as ever, are simple. Submit an original track and 12 will be voted or selected for a second round. From there, six finalists will perform on the main stage at this year’s Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival for the chance to win $400.
To enter, send your songs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the rules, see augustachronicle.com/ampedrules.