Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Feb. 22, 2002
Nathan HamiltonAll for Love and Wages (Steppin' Stone) Some singer-songwriters take the world by storm with their first album. They seem to emerge fully formed, with fresh ideas and a different way of looking at the human condition. Others, take a bit longer to figure the whole thing out. On his second release All for Love and Wages, Nathan Hamilton, who locals may remember as a member of the Good Medicine Band aka the Sharecroppers, proves to be a member of the latter group. His first solo turn, Tuscola, had its inspired moments, but nothing in his past could have prepared us for these 11 new songs filled with empathy, stick-in-your-head melodies, and unremitting spirit. All for Love and Wages rocks harder than Hamilton has in the past, but his music remains rooted in country and folk. With the guitars of Brent Malkus and producer Ted Cho (Poi Dog Pondering) right up front, there are times, especially on "Dirt in the Wound" and "Thing of All Things" where they seem to be channeling Crazy Horse on a steamy night. Then, on the smooth, hook-filled opener "Dry River" and the lazy acoustic "4 Directions," Hamilton recalls the early country rock style of Jackson Browne. Although not working the most original musical territory, All for Love and Wages is a healthy helping of new American roots rock.