Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
Trina Hamlin’s no safer pulled over, aimlessly wandering around somewhere in the Florida Panhandle, than she would’ve been using her cell while driving. Getting into an accident would, at least, spare the “blues-infused” folkie the embarrassment of telling people: “Snow White’s friends attacked me!” Really, though, the critters looming around her are the ones who should be afraid. Very afraid.
“I’m walking and talking now – so I think I can handle that, as long as I don’t walk over some of these squirrels that are bouncing off of these trees,” says the New Yorker, who parked the car then called us so that she wouldn’t risk dropped calls.
Splitting driving time with her tour manager, the two are like Thelma and Louise – at least in the sense that they dig adventure in between gigs. Heading toward Darien, Ga., for just-passed 40th Annual Blessing of the Fleet Festival, which Hamlin calls an excuse to party (and eat shrimp, no doubt) – “I was kinda hoping for the whole champagne bottle and smacking the boat, but I’m not sure” – the dynamic duo paid a visit to some reptile pals. “We realized last year in Florida, we didn’t see any gators,” she says. “So we found gators. Man, we found this huge 14-foot gator, and we got a private tour of the gator park. So I can’t say (touring) isn’t fun, ’cause it is. I’d be totally lying.”
Right now she’s completely immersed in her work. And befriending alligators. And deciding which champagne she’ll knock back. This, unfortunately, leaves little time for pursuing a relationship. And when it comes to those, Hamlin, who’s only dated women in the last 10 years, doesn’t just go ga-ga over the gals.
“I can’t say I would never date a guy,” she says, admitting she has. “I don’t have any issues with y’all. I think you’re great.” To some degree, she must think Michigan is, too, since she’ll perform three shows here – April 25 at The Livery in Benton Harbor, May 2 in Ann Arbor and May 3 in Traverse City – in support of her latest studio album, “Living on Love,” and a live disc, “One Nightstand,” both released last year.
No stranger to Ann Arbor, Hamlin, who gushes about recently-retired Ark leaders Dave and Linda Siglin, was part of the first night of January’s Ann Arbor Folk Festival, which is put on annually by The Ark. Ben Folds headlined – and to those unfamiliar with the pianist pro their ears were treated to more than just music. Like some f-bombs. Hamlin’s just as guilty when it comes to cursing, but she tries – that being the operative word – to avoid them during live gigs.
During this interview? Not so much.
“When it’s a good punctuation point, I agree with it. It makes a point. And it makes things funny sometimes – especially with a New York accent,” she says, trying on her NY voice: “What the fuck you think you doin’?”
Thanks to her teacher, the superintendent of her apartment complex, she’s picked up the accent, even though New York’s been her home for 18 years. The Minnesota-raised cautionary cusser grew up to dad’s music – Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck. “I’ll probably date myself at this point, and I don’t really care,” she says, also naming ’70s pop-duo Captain & Tennille.
“Other than that, it just starts to make me wonder just what we’re given when we come here. ‘Cause there is no reason I should be doing what I do, by nature of how I grew up,” she laughs.
As a first grader, Hamlin won talent contests and then continued to pursue music through her teen years, polishing her skills before she earned a degree in professional music from Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
Then it was off to New York City, where she became a member of a band called Blue Leaves until she broke free to pursue a solo career. She recorded her first album in 1998, the folk-rock “Alone.” It paid off.
Her songs were picked up by “The Real World” and “Dawson’s Creek,” which meant more promotion – and more money.
“It definitely doesn’t hurt,” she says. “It pays some bills – actually, it pays a bunch of bills, depending on the ones you’re paying.”
Also, it helps when you’ve got some loyal (and pretty damn creepy) fans. Ones who, according to her MySpace page, dream about the non-linear musician and anticipate getting mentally abused by her. Hamlin is quick to clarify the second claim, which involves a teen whose dad was the sound engineer for “One Nightstand”: “I used to tell her that we were going to abuse her. It might look wrong on MySpace, which a lot of things do, but now that you know I’m a Minnesotan, and I’m pretty kind of low key for the most part (and) you can kind of get the idea that people are just … ”
Folks, f-bomb No. 2: “They’re fucking with me.”
9:30 p.m. April 25
The Livery, Benton Harbor
8 p.m. May 2
The Ark, Ann Arbor
8 p.m. May 3
Inside Out Gallery, Traverse City