Adam Hammer and Dave Cofell are no strangers to taking the spotlight solo with their infectious songs and stories. But when the two team up to split the bill, something incredible happens. Somewhere along the line between Hammer's intricate finger-style guitar playing and fluid lyrics, and Cofell's heartfelt vocals and folky blues style, two acoustic worlds collide. The result is often unexpected and always memorable.
The duo was voted Best Original Music in the St. Cloud Times' annual Best of Central Minnesota reader's poll four straight years in 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011. Both of their 2012 solo releases, "Broken Like You" and "No Substitute (For You)," have spent time in the top 10 of the CMJ charts at 88.1FM KVSC in St. Cloud.
Hammer has lived a life well beyond his years and it all comes through in song. His story is one of fatherhood, homelessness, love, addiction, recovery, pain, comfort and unity told in front of a backdrop of his own unique style of "tattooed folk" – melodic acoustic music, highlighted by an indescribable aggression.
After more than a decade of performing with hard rock and alternative bands in front of crowds ranging from three to 30,000, Hammer went solo and taught himself his unique finger-picking style while living in Nashville in 2002. He has released four solo EPs, including the Adam Hammer & the Impact "black and blues" side project release, the "Let It Burn" EP which hit the shelves Jan. 25, 2011 that features Cofell on slide guitar and harmonica. Other EPs include "Figments" 2004, "Tattooed Folk" 2008 and "From the Basement" August 2010. He released his first solo full-length "Broken Like You" in March 2012 that features guest musicians including Cofell on guitar and backing vocals, Jeff Vee on drums (Bobby Vee, Jack Knife and the Sharps), Tommy Vee on bass (Bobby Vee, Brian Setzer, Rosie Flores), Kurt Rodman on lead guitar, George Maurer on piano and Nils Loewen on cello.
Cofell has been a fixture of the Minnesota music scene for more than three decades. His vast repertoire spans from folk to blues to rock to roots and even a dash of country. He started performing solo and with bands in high school in the early 1980s and has since toured consistently throughout the Midwest with shows at some of Minnesota's top venues such as First Avenue in Minneapolis and Stephen B. Humphrey Auditorium in Collegeville. He also has completed two West Coast tours in 2015 and 2016 and has toured Europe with a sold out performance in Hamburg, Germany.
Cofell is a prolific songwriter who most recently showcased his abilities on his solo CD "No Substitute (For You)" released in March 2012, which also featured Hammer on acoustic and electric guitars, lap steel and backing vocals. He previously released "The Road Ahead" in 2009.
Hammer and Cofell first put their efforts together in 2009 after meeting at Open Mic Night at The Local Blend in St. Joseph, Minn., a weekly event they now co-host with a mission to build community through sharing music. They also have taken to touring throughout Minnesota with close to 100 shows per year together. In August 2011, they created the Weekend of Songs: Songwriters Festival that brought the big three-day outdoor music festival feel inside the intimate setting of The Local Blend. The now annual event features three days of concerts, open mics, meet-ups and jam sessions celebrating songs and songwriting.
Memorable venues they have performed at include the Paramount Theatre and Pioneer Place on Fifth Theater in St. Cloud, Minn., the Rochester Art Center in Rochester, Minn., The Listening Room in Fargo, N.D., Glacial Ridge Winery's Summer Concert Series in Spicer, Minn., Granite City Folk Society at BoDiddley's in St. Cloud, Northland College Theater in Thief River Falls, Minn., and dozens of coffee shops, lounges, clubs and outdoor music series.
Their show follows a song-for-song format where they back each other up on a mix of original progressive folk, blues and their own blend of "black and blues." Hammer and Cofell also throw in a few choice cover songs and remade renditions of familiar tunes when the mood is right.