“I always tell people it’s Gypsy Folk-Rock but I don’t know if I would say that about the current material. I’m open to experiment with different genres but it all seems rooted in folk music to me,” replied Dustin Hamman when asked about how he would classify his music. Hamman, from Portland, OR, plays under the name Run On Sentence, which was originally inspired by a character in a “sort of musical” he was working on years ago. Though he often plays solo, the collective band name represents Hamman’s songs in whatever form they are presented, with an open-ended array of musicians performing with him at any given time, “I feel like it’s easy for a band to get locked into a sound then lose their drive to experiment because of trying to hold true to some self imposed identity… I wanted something to remind myself to keep moving.”
When he writes music, Hamman often heart the sounds in his head before picking an instrument, and the versatility of a constantly evolving group allows for further experimentation within instruments and band members, as many of the musicians he plays with are also in other bands, much like Seth Kauffman of Floating Action, who Hamman will be sharing the stage with at Rocket Club on Thursday.
Though he currently lives in Portland, Hamman has spent time in Asheville, and says “there are just some places where I feel more comfortable than others… there is something about both cities that makes me feel relaxed, like I can just be who I am and do what I want and it’s no big deal… it’s important to feel uninhibited. As for specifically why, it’s not something i’ve really thought about or tried to quantify, I just dig the towns I guess.”
As the digital music movement makes artists like Hamman more accessible to people who may not ordinarily be aware of his music, independent musicians have made adjustments to how they market themselves to gain a wider audience. He currently lets people stream his music online for free, but he does charge for downloads. “I like the idea of making it free and asking for donations but I haven’t fully gone that route yet. I work with people’s budgets at live shows, but at live shows people seem to want to support what I’m doing because they’ve had a first hand experience… online, a person doesn’t have to see me first hand and know that I really need their support in order to keep doing this. Ultimately I’d rather have people hear the music than not, but it’s the people who pay for it who allow me to keep making it.”
Sponsored by Blue Barnhouse Letterpress and the Rocket Club, the show will feature full sets by both Floating Action and Run On Sentence, and is completely free. Remember to pick up your commemorative coaster, designed by Kyle Durrie of Power and Light Press in Portland (Ex- BBH staff, she also designed the letterpressed Run On Sentence album) pressed at Blue Barnhouse.
Run On Sentence and Asheville’s Floating Action play a free show at The Rocket Club (401 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 505-2494) on Thursday, Sept. 17.