Neither the cold rain or fear of “Friday the 13th” drove away the more than 50 Saber Airmen and their families who packed the Brick House Dec. 13, 2013, to hear the grooves and tunes of a Texas blues artist and his band.
Hamilton Loomis, a musician from Galveston, Texas, and his band performed a free concert during his European world tour, themed “Give It Back.”
For Loomis, the message of give it back, like his appreciation for the troops, is about honoring those who came before him.
“Specifically, I’m referring to the knowledge, insight, stories and advice that we learned while growing up,” he said. “I had some unbelievable music mentors from Houston like Joe “Guitar” Hughes — a great Texas bluesman who took me under his wing when I was 15. He showed me the ropes and taught me so much about everything music. And not just guitar, but about listening and getting a good tone without effects; how to interact with other musicians without stepping on their toes; how to be appropriate in certain musical situations. It was a complete education that no school could ever give you. He wouldn’t tell me what key he was playing in, so I had to think on my toes and learn very quick. The best way to do something is to just dive in—he was amazing.”
Loomis said his appreciation for his mentors’ craft also extended to his work on the road when he began his career.
“It’s an obligation– a duty,” he said. “Those guys helped guys like me and my generation become better musicians and honestly better people. It carries over to everything in life, and I found myself wanting to do the same. It feels right and feels natural to do that. That’s what the whole ‘give it back’ theme means.”
And as for the performance, Loomis and his crew of bass, drums, saxophone and keyboard players belted out tune after tune with such intensity, a stuffed snowman adjacent to the stage practically melted.
Even better, the band tempted fate with their delicious cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”– as if to say that fears of Friday the 13th had nothing on the blues.
But for Loomis and his band, spreading the love of music is one of the greatest opportunities for life on the road.
“It’s everything to me — I eat, sleep and breathe music,” he said. “Music is more than just something that is important to me. Music is a way to reach people and bring people together. It’s a universal language, and that’s what is great about being able to travel all over the world. You don’t have to speak the same language with your mouth. When you speak with your instrument, anyone can recognize, hear and feel that when you put your soul into it.”