From a single conversation over the phone, I got the impression that , née Perry, are one of those couples who are so in love, their mutual adoration is palpable –– like the moments before a summer storm or prior to experiencing déjà vu. You can feel it in the way they talk about finishing each other’s songs.
The Hamiltons have been married for five years, after crossing paths at the Mule Barn in Justin, when both were booked to close out the 2012 Honky Tonk Icehouse’s New Year’s Eve bash. Phil’s solo career was really hitting its stride, and, knowing the extra bullshit women face when trying to poke their toe through the music industry’s door, he happily offered Erica the opening slot whenever he could, both at home and on tour.
“She was like one of the boys,” Phil said. “And we knew everything about each other. So we just said ‘Let’s just date.’ We fell in love. Didn’t date long. We decided to get married and life happened fast. Had a kid. That was the plan God had for us.”
June, born in December 2015, was the catalyst for her dad and mom to fold their respective solo acts into a single project. “When I was playing shows away, and Erica was being a stay-at-home mom, we knew that wasn’t the plan,” Phil said. They’d been writing music together already, working the songs into their own solo sets. The pair decided that once June was old enough to travel regularly, they’d start what Phil described as a “rootsy rock ’n’ roll band” with a deep undercurrent of R&B.
Work on The Hamiltons Vol. 1 took about a year recording with Beau Bedford (Quaker City Night Hawks, Paul Cauther, The Texas Gentlemen) and their lead guitarist, Austin Woodrow Morgan (Rob Baird, Logan Brill), at Bedford’s Modern Electric Sound studio in Dallas. The duo let him and Morgan find what the song needed organically rather than putting in something because of convention. “We didn’t put a fiddle in just to do it,” Phil. said
Erica is glad to buck existing molds. “When you start out, people tell you all these things to do,” she said. “And then one day you’re like, ‘Can I just listen to myself for once?’ And when people find their place in music, it’s because they gave up on what everyone told them to do and just did what they wanted to do.”
The pair’s creative process involves a lot of co-writing, though they often start out working on material by themselves. “But there are these songs I can’t finish, and I know the only way to make it a good song is for Phil to finish it,” Erica laughed. “He and I can ‘marriage spat’ about lines, and we end up with a better song than when apart.”
For now, The Hamiltons are taking their show on the road throughout Texas and its adjacent regional markets. “We’re doing the weekend warrior thing for now,” Phil said. But he is pleasantly surprised that the ticket sales for their album release show at the Ridglea Theater are moving fast. “For an independent artist doing what we’re doing, to pack the Ridglea, we feel like something’s working, and that’s a proud thing to feel, being from Fort Worth,” he said.
The two are already working on the songs for Vol. 2 and have several unreleased songs from the Vol. 1 sessions that will make it onto its follow-up.
For the Hamiltons, their band has been the conjunction of a lot of roads, but at its roots the project is just two people who love each other making honest music. “I’m just lucky to write with my wife,” Phil said.
The Hamiltons Album Release Show
7pm Sat w/Dustin Massey at the Ridglea Theater, 6025 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW. $15-20. 817-738-9500.