Music

Sam Hammerman's "Miss the Days" Is a Nostalgic Look Back on Life (premiere)

Photo: Laura Hilliard

Contemporary crooner Sam Hammerman brings us a breezy and soulful look back on better days on "Miss the Days".

Whether in prose, film or in any number of songs, nostalgia is a powerful device in art when incorporated the right way. That is something that Brooklyn songwriter Sam Hammerman must have known when setting out to develop his latest single, "Miss the Days."

With an opening piano flourish, Hammerman confidently slinks into the song with all of the finesse of a golden age crooner. As he inhabits the song, a story unfolds that probably everyone under the sun could relate to. At its center, the soulful and sweet song presents to us that, even if we feel as alive and present as we could ever be, there will still be those days that we can't shake as brighter moments. We want to go back to them, but the time and the place that we're looking back on will only ever truly live on in ourselves. It's gently bittersweet nostalgia that Hammerman presents to his audience in simple, but top-notch form.

The song features Hammerman on vocals, guitars, piano, bass, and keyboard with support from drummer Andrew Marshall. It was produced by Hammerman alongside Luke Tuzour. Hammerman also had a hand in engineering the track between himself and Phil Duke. It was mixed by Nick Squillante and mastered by Greg Calibi.

Hammerman sat down with PopMatters for a brief Q&A regarding "Miss the Days".

What is "Miss the Days" about?

"Miss the Days" is about longing for a time of simplicity and innocence. Both in the context of a relationship and in a broader sense, with life in general before the world gets so cluttered and chaotic.

Who or what were some influences when writing "Miss the Days"?

I wrote this right as I was transitioning from living in my hometown of Boston to moving to NYC, so there was a lot of peaceful nostalgia about the whole process that influenced the song. I wanted to capture this feeling and imagery of childhood to some degree, that innocence and freedom. In a relationship that is really clicking and flowing, it can sometimes feel almost childlike, where you forget about the burdens of the world. And I feel life can be like that, too, even as an adult, sometimes we just lose sight of that.

Musically, there are many influences woven into this. Certainly, my love of vintage jazz really shapes the melody. I would say the groove and rhythm pulls more from soul people like D'angelo and Continuum era John Mayer. Also certainly the Beatles and Paul Mccartney influence is always prevalent.

Always hard to answer this kind of question as it really is the sum total of everything I have ever listened to and really loved!

Any cool, funny, or interesting stories from writing and recording this one?

Well the first one that comes to mind, is I recorded the main piano part way back at the end of last summer at my buddy Phil Duke's studio in NYC. It was late at night and super hot and humid and we were really in the studio zone, which feels like another world outside of time. Anyway, it really was steaming in there and we couldn't turn on the A/C because it would have affected the piano's tuning, so I decided to just strip down as much possible to get comfy. So I ended up doing most of that piano recording in my underwear and socks (to protect the pedals), which was pretty memorable. Sometimes you just gotta be unencumbered. But don't tell anyone!

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