LIHUE — The first time John Hammond came to Kauai, he was visiting. When he lands next week, he will be putting on a show for blues fans.
“I went to Kauai once before, about 15 years ago. I was on vacation, and stopped by for the day,” he said. “I thought it was beautiful.”
Hammond, a renowned blues artist, will be performing at Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center on June 12. He will be singing songs from his most recent album, “Timeless,” which was recorded live at a Chinese restaurant, Chan’s, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
“I’ve been to Maui and Oahu several times, and I’ve toured Maui, Oahu and the Big Island, but I’ve never performed on Kauai,” Hammond said. “I’m excited about that; it’s going to be fun.”
Hammond, who grew up in New York City, was 18 when he first picked up the guitar.
“I knew it was going to be my life,” he said.
After moving to Los Angeles at 19, Hammond returned to New York City, where he recorded his first CD in December 1962. Not too long after, he found an agent and started touring.
The Grammy winner is known for playing the guitar and harmonica at the same time. He was introduced to playing both instruments in the 1950s by listening to Jimmy Reed and Sonny Terry.
“There were great harmonica players who were on the scene at the time,” Hammond said. “I listened to them, but then I started to develop my own style.”
Over 50 years later, Hammond has released 35 albums, touring all over the world. He has played for audiences in Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand and South America.
Hammond was attracted to the blues because of its sound and its history.
Hammond won “Best Acoustic Blues Album” and “Best Acoustic Blues Artist” this year. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011.
“I didn’t expect it to happen so dramatically, but I was ready for anything,” Hammond said. “So I took it all in.”
A 54-year veteran in the music industry, Hammond said it’s tough picking out a favorite memory.
“I’ve got so many great moments, it’s amazing,” he said. “There are so many moments, that if I sat down, it would take a while to get them all out.”
Hammond will be playing at the KCC Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 for reserved seating and $40 for general admission.
Reserved tickets available at Hanalei Strings, Kauai Music & Sound, and Papaya’s Natural Foods & Cafe.
General admission tickets are available at Scotty’s Music, Progressive Expressions, and Magic Dragon Toys.