“I need a win more than anything…”
Fort Wayne, IN
Kevin Hambrick makes the kind of wholly original yet instantly recognizable music that, once allowed into your ears, sinks its hooks deep into your brain and refuses to let go. This is a good thing. His ability to conjure up classic vibes and apply them to songs of both substance and incredible hummability is only matched by his ceaseless musical output. Whether solo or with his 4-piece outfit The Orange Opera, Mr. Hambrick lives and breathes music, and we benefit. A lifelong resident of northeastern Indiana, Kevin soaked up his influences and channeled his creativity, becoming an iconoclast amongst the metal and classic rock jocks and Heartland cowboys. Badfinger, Beatles and T. Rex mingled in his head, joining myriad other classic and contemporary influences and informing his unique melodic sensibilities. In the mid-1990s he joined up with future Off the Cuff recording studio owners Javier Bayouth and Jason Davis in a combo called Donny Flannigan. A couple of years later he formed Big Red and Rojo with drummer Kyle Stevenson and bassist Josh Mink. Upon Mink’s departure for parts west (and a full-length, unreleased BRR album locked away in the Hambrick vault), Kevin undertook a couple of albums and several live shows under the Blueberry Hurricane moniker, with an assist from Stevenson. In the midst of tirelessly writing, recording, and promoting his distinctive music (including a stellar solo release, “Serotonin,”) Hambrick found himself the subject of a 2005 indie documentary that managed to shed light on his demons, motivations and dreams while painting a starkly accurate picture of the Midwest that surrounded him. “Paging Rascal Hanks” received rave reviews both locally and on the West Coast where its director, Alex Uncapher, is based. Staying true to form, Hambrick released another hook-filled solo opus, “Football Weather,” soon after. Soldiering on in color-themed character, Hambrick continues to front The Orange Opera, where he functions as songwriter, lead singer, guitarist and piano man. Their debut, 2006′s “Land of Tall,” garnered critical kudos. The combo, which includes bassist Bryan Brubaker, Kevin Hockaday on drums, and recent addition Jon Ross on guitar, won 2007′s heavily contested Whatzup Battle of the Bands in Fort Wayne, netting Kevin and company some hard-earned respect in an area not exactly known for valuing originality and songwriting chops. Hookups with luminaries such as Dr. Dog and the Teeth helped to make 2007 an incredible year for the unstoppable Mr. Hambrick, who at this very moment is probably busy working on another great song.