Texas and UK-based rockers Ryan Hamilton and The Harlequin Ghosts have released their new single “Mamacita” and officially revealed the details for their debut album on Steven Van Zandt’s label, Wicked Cool Records, titled This Is The Sound. “Mamacita,” the lead single off the upcoming album due out Friday, May 31st, is a riff-laden rave-up that Ryan co-wrote with Little Steven, who also contributes to the song’s rippin’ guitar solo.
“I co-wrote this with Stevie Van Zandt, sort of by accident,” shares Hamilton. “I had what I thought was a finished song, but Stevie heard it and said, ‘It’s good, but it needs a chorus.’ So, he wrote one and sent it to me. This song will forever be special to me for that very reason.” He adds, “Mamacita is a word I heard here in Texas growing up. I relate it to beautiful, sexy Mexican women, in the most respectful way. Combine that with memories of a couple of crazy nights just south of the border, and you have the inspiration for this song.”
“Mamacita” follows the band’s previously released track, “Bottoms Up (Here’s To Goodbye),” their first official release in late 2018 also featured on the album, which promptly earned Coolest Song In The World status from Little Steven. All 12 new songs on This Is The Sound, recorded in the U.K. last year, find Ryanand the band on familiar musical footing, staying true to an aesthetic that’s a modern distillation of their classic influences.
Hamilton, the group’s only American, and the U.K.-based Ghosts soon head out on a run of U.S. spring tour dates supporting Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, with whom they toured the U.K. with late last year. Following a solo appearance at Adam Duritz’s Underwater Sunshine Fest in New York City on April 6th and a set opening for The Alarm at Irving Plaza in NYC April 13th, Ryan will open for Clyne at a handful of Midwest dates April 15th-19th in Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines and St. Louis with a solo, acoustic set. Then, the full band – core members Mickey Richards (drums) and Rob Lane (bass) along with Carol Hodge (keyboards and backing vocals) and Dave Winkler (lead guitar), who round-out the lineup when they perform as a five-piece – head to the West Coast for May dates with Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers throughout Arizona and California as well as in Las Vegas.
Ryan Hamilton may have been a musical late bloomer by first picking up a guitar around the age of 20, but don’t expect the no-nonsense singer with long, sandy-brown hair and a flame-singed cowboy hat to resemble most of the 21st century hit parade. “I taught myself how to play with a songbook featuring the Eagles’ Greatest Hits. Most of what I listen to is rock ‘n’ roll from the ’60s and ’70s,” notes Ryan. Counting some of the usual classic rock suspects among his formative influences – The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, David Bowie – he’s also influenced by country music, thanks to his upbringing in a small town just outside of Fort Worth, Texas. Those building blocks of rock laid the foundation on which Ryan Hamilton and The Harlequin Ghosts formed.
After stints in the bands People On Vacation (with Bowling For Soup‘s Jaret Reddick and Ghosts members Richards and Lane) and Smile Smile, this current phase of Ryan’s career began with a late 2016 single called “Fuck You Brain,” which he wrote and recorded with friend Ginger Wildheart of the legendary U.K. hard rock band The Wildhearts. The melodically rocking track caught the attention of Wicked Cool honcho Steven Van Zandt, who added it to his Underground Garage playlist, along with half the songs from Ryan Hamilton and The Traitors’ 2017 album The Devil’s In The Detail, the first album from the band prior to the name change. The timing could not have been more perfect. “Something clicked the last year or so,” recalls Ryan. “I feel like I’ve finally found my voice and my confidence as a songwriter and performer.” The renewed attention set the stage for a name change, and the band reconstituted itself as Ryan Hamilton and The Harlequin Ghosts.
2. “Bottoms Up (Here’s To Goodbye)”
3. “Feels Like Falling In Love”
4. “Get Down”
5. “Far Cry”
6. “All Fall Down”
7. “This Is The Sound”
8. “Let You Go”
9. “So Gone”
10. “Girl Vs. Monster”
11. “Same Page”
12. “Won’t Stop Now”