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Swingin Hammers pens songs with the seriousness of writing an epitaph. “I’m made to carry the heavy things,” says Benjamin Rupe, who took on the moniker Swingin Hammers at the start of 2017, when Rupe’s purpose as a singer/songwriter became clear. “I can’t handle a feather, but I can handle a tombstone.” The entertaining live performances of Swingin Hammers might deceive just how weighty Rupe’s lyrics are, but each Swingin Hammers song testifies that he knows exactly what he’s doing and what he’s not doing, in lockstep with his mission as an artist.
These songs do share much in common with the big-voice Americana of Chris Stapleton and Parker Millsap but there’s a rich texture and accessibility to Rupe’s singing that’s more aligned with the blue-eyed soul of modern crooners like Sam Smith and Gavin DeGraw. Mixed with a warm rhythm section, varied playing on electric guitars and lap steels, and the occasional keyboard, the final product of Swingin Hammers’ music — whether on recording or in concert — packs a punch that crosses genre lines, while still fitting snugly within the growing resurgence of Americana, roots rock, and traditionalist country music.