Loomis: Innovate, don’t imitate | SummitDaily.com

Loomis: Innovate, don’t imitate

KIMBERLY NICOLETTIsummit daily news
Special to the DailyHamilton Loomis takes the advice of his mentor Bo Diddley to heart with a funky, rockin' sound rooted in the blues.

DILLON – When a musician learns from the likes of Bo Diddley, Albert Collins, Johnny “Clyde” Copeland and a host of other greats in southern Texas, it can be intimidating to try to improve on their mastery.But 20-something Hamilton Loomis never experienced that kind of pressure.”I met Bo Diddley at one of his shows in Houston, Texas, in 1992, and we became friends,” Hamilton said. “He told me, ‘Do something different. Innovate, don’t imitate.’ That really stuck with me.

“My music is rooted in blues but is not blues per se. The masters played traditional blues, and I don’t think I could improve on that, you know? Mine is more modern sounding. I put a funk and slight rock edge to roots music to keep it fresh.”Hamilton began pounding on the drums and piano at age 5, moved to the guitar at age 6, then conquered the harmonica. He started performing in a doo-wop group with his parents at 14. By the time he was 17, he had played the world-famous Delta Blues Festival for an audience of 40,000 and was writing, arranging and performing his own material. “(My parents) basically exposed me to music every day of my life and encouraged me to play,” he said. “I just took it from there.”

His self-titled debut CD received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Album of the Year in 1994.For the past three years, he has toured with his band, radiating a potent vibe with razor-sharp arrangements, soulful vocals and groove-driven riffs.”I keep it funky,” he said. “My stuff has a strong beat. That’s important for booty-shakin’. I try to connect on a deeper level by singing the songs I’ve written about everyday things, mostly upbeat. If someone understands you, then you’ve connected.”

Loomis plays a free concert Saturday as part of this summer’s Sunset at the Summit series. Coordinators for the series chose bands known for getting crowds to dance and have a good time.”We were looking for two things: diversity – a band that could play a wide range of songs – and one that’s going to get people up and get them dancing,” said Chris Alleman of the Lake Dillon Foundation for the Performing Arts.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.

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