“I’m not sure what my connection is with Edinburgh other than roasted pork, but it is probably my favourite UK city.”
Thankfully for his fans of his music, Ryan Hamilton has more than one reason to return to the Capital from his native Texas after falling in love with the city – and a particular eaterie here – during a visit with his People On Vacation [POV] group in April 2011.
The Liquid Room gig almost five years ago was preceded by a visit from Ryan and POV co-founder Jaret Reddick, also frontman of pop-punk band Bowling For Soup, to a purveyor of roasted pork over the road, sparking Ryan’s obsession with the Auld Reekie rotisserie.
“Every time I come back to the UK, I always try and find a way to get to Edinburgh,” he says. “We had never heard of this roasted pork shop before, but there’s literally a roasted pig’s body in the window and the guy scrapes off the meat and the pig is jiggling and we were like, ‘What?’ We came back with bags and shut the place down – there was no pig left. We had bags of sandwiches and haggis and all of it. I guess that’s their thing – they have a pig a day and when it’s gone, it’s gone.
“I have been back there any time I’ve been within a two-hour radius of Edinburgh, even if we don’t have a show. I tweet them all the time – I just want them to know I love them. I’ve always had a special relationship with Scotland as some of the bigger POV and Bowling For Soup [whom Ryan toured with] shows have been in Scotland. I’ve only been here to play twice but I’ve always had a big following. I have a special relationship with Edinburgh – I love the people there.”
Ryan will take to the stage at Sneaky Pete’s tonight (Thursday 3 March) to open his first solo headlining British tour, Hell of a UK Tour, in support of his critically-acclaimed Hell of a Day album. He said: “I decided to crowdfund my album so that I could go directly to my fans and not have to deal with the hassle of all the greedy, two-faced stuff that goes on behind the scenes in the music industry. I’ve been blown away by the reaction so far and so I can’t wait to see what people think of the songs live.”
Tickets for all the dates on the tour are priced low because Ryan maintains that accessibility to his music is the foundation on which his fan base is built.
He said: “For me, it’s not about the numbers or the money. I’ve tried to start over, develop real relationships with people and leave the door open for people who want to talk, email and tweet. All tickets are between £6-8 because I want to make my music accessible. There are so many artists who go through the ringer in this business, and I’m trying to do things differently.
“I have a feeling this tour might just be the most rewarding experience of my career. People seem genuinely excited about it and the songs are sounding huge. The shows will be like a sweaty, drunken, country bar in Texas. If you’ve never been to a ‘saloon’ in Texas then you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about and I guess you’ll just have to come out to the shows to experience it for yourself!”
Tickets for Ryan Hamilton’s Hell of a UK Tour, with support from Danny Gruff, are available from http://ryanhamiltonmusic.com
Ryan Hamilton, Sneaky Pete’s, Cowgate, Thursday 3 March, 7pm, £8, 0131 225 1757.