Tom Hamilton is the guitarist and vocalist of the bands American Babies and Brothers Past. Flawed Logic‚ his fantastic new record with American Babies‚ was released yesterday (4/19) on Engine Room Recordings.

To me‚ a life in music is a never-ending quest for knowledge. The goal is to learn the tools that can express the hurt or happiness in this life that words alone could never do justice. A mix of talent‚ expression‚ vulnerability‚ and will that cannot be calculated but is immediately felt and understood.
Some people flip through scripture to help find meaning and guidance. For others‚ it could be family or financial success. For me‚ it's time spent flipping through records and scrolling through playlists. Once in a while I'll be fortunate enough to find hope‚ love‚ and/or understanding in a three-to-four minute segment. These are my moments of very real‚ undeniable truth.
They come in many different styles‚ and I am here to share them one genre at a time.

The Truth: Soul
I came to this genre of music much later than I would have liked. About three years ago‚ a good friend burned me a mix CD. It knocked me flat on my ass. Immediately‚ I went digging for more‚ and what I found was music that was firing on all cylinders.
Soul was first seeded in pop culture with the recordings of Ray Charles‚ Fats Domino‚ and Little Richard in the 50's and came into it's own in the 60's with the emergence of Motown Records and Stax Records as well as the by-this time-established Atlantic Records. These labels gave us Marvin Gaye‚ Stevie Wonder‚ Otis Redding‚ Al Green‚ Aretha Franklin‚ Gladys Knight and countless other chart toppers that burned Soul into the very fabric of American popular music.
The catalogues are so vast and deep with intricacies. The songs are brilliant. Every hook is permanent after the first listen. One can (and I'm sure already has) write a thesis studying the subtle differences between the studios that made these records. The players and bands. Arrangements and recording techniques. Motown's polished orchestral wall as opposed to Stax's much more raw approach. The Chicago take on things from the cooler-than-anyone-could-ever-hope-to-be feel of Curtis Mayfield.
This music exemplifies my philosophy on music: "It's not what you play‚ it's how you play it."
From the obvious (Otis Redding's vocals at the end of "Try a Little Tenderness") to the peripheral (the tambourine work in "Signed‚ Sealed‚ Delivered" starting at the 1:10 minute mark) every note is played with swagger‚ love‚ and most importantly‚ soul.
There are endless layers so I suggest you start peeling.
Here are some tracks to get you started:
"Bring it on Home to Me" - Sam Cooke

"Try a Little Tenderness" - Otis Redding
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

"Think" - Aretha Franklin
"Signed‚ Sealed Delivered" - Stevie Wonder

"Workin' Together" - Ike and Tina Turner