In March’s PA Musician magazine, “The Professor” Jim Price included a sweet review of Loam. In case you were unable to grab a copy, here it is….
HANNAH BINGMAN – LOAM (no label) For more than a decade, Hannah Bingman has honed and refined her distinctive brand of acoustic-based folk music, rooted in traditional folk and Americana. On her latest album, Loam, she expands from that traditional folk music foundation to explore a variety of flavors, spanning jazz, blues, folk-rock and more. Bingman’s songwriting has evolved from the more freewheeling and improvisational approach of her earlier material to more structured and concise melodies on Loam. Her lyrical messages remain direct and assertive, as she celebrates rural heritage, family and her life’s journey. She doesn’t back down from any challenges on the disc-opening “Deep Water,” resolving to ‘swim” and face the elements. That resolve was shaped by her rural upbringing, a theme she recounts in the rustic “Farmer’s Prayer.” She explores rural and traditional values and work ethic on “Hard Times, Our Times,” and considers the plight of the modern farmer on the solemn “Farmer’s Plea.” Introspection is the theme of Bingman’s sturdy folk-rocker “Heart on Fire,” and she sings a hopeful ode for the future on “Mustard Seed (Song for Kathryn Mae).” Bingman’s musical explorations include jazzy terrain on “Hard Hearted Woman,” “Had a Mind, Had a Heart” and the disc-ending “Jericho,” honky-tonk on the barroom-themed “Pennies,” and delta blues on “Stranger.” Several guests help color the arrangements through the album, as Doug McMinn’s clarinet and Nell Hanssen’s trumpet augment the jazzier flavors, Kathryn Johnston’s violin enhances the rustic moods, and Kim Reichley (who co-produced the album with Bingman) adds touches of bass, dobro, mandolin, piano and more. Bingman’s gritty and determined singing style drives her lyrical messages home and provides the cohesive thread that ties this set together, while the varying styles and moods keep the album fresh-sounding and vibrant. Loam clearly shows Hannah Bingman’s growth and maturity as an artist; she adheres to her folk roots, while embracing the adventure of exploring the musical world around her. (The CD can be purchased through Hannah Bingman’s website, www.hannahbingman.com.)