DUSTIN HAMMAN is not someone who likes to follow someone else's timetable unless it's absolutely necessary.
When we meet at Costello's Travel Caffe on NE Broadway, there's a noticeable bit of tension in his shoulders, put there by a trip out to Vancouver earlier that morning.
"I was happy that you picked someplace close by where I'm staying," he says, between sips of an iced drink that leave little globs of milky coffee on his scraggly mustache. "I thought I could sleep in, maybe get down here early and kick back. But then I got a call from this guy who I'm trying to buy a car from and he said, 'You'd better get here fast because I have someone else interested.' So..."
This mindset extends to all aspects of Hamman's life, especially his musical efforts recorded under the name Run On Sentence. This should come as no surprise to anyone who's heard the loose-limbed folk-pop Hamman's recorded over the years, but never before has his lackadaisical and strangely spiritual outlook been captured with as much clarity as it has on the latest album, Feelings.
The songs on Feelings were birthed in the most relaxed manner possible, while Hamman and his drummer Dan Galucki put up for two months at a hot springs in New Mexico.
"The spirit of the record came out of those sessions," Hamman says. "You're just living in the middle of the desert and living however you want. If the moon was full, I might stay up until 2 or 3 am and sleep all day. Or I'd go to bed at 7 pm and wake up at 5 am to go hike a canyon. I could really get into my own headspace."
The seven tracks on Feelings unfold with the pace of an after-hours jam session at a honky-tonk. Sometimes the songs stay on a slow and steady course (the staggering "Stoned, Drunk, and Blind," and the gently chugging title track); other times, the pace gets furtive and quick, flirting with complete collapse. No matter the speed, the tunes don't quit until Hamman has belted his heart out about finding God in nature, his wanderlust, and surrendering himself to his ladylove.
And that woozy spirit baked into the album? Hamman and his collaborators came by that very honestly.
"For the first two days, we tried to work diligently from 11 am to 8 pm," he says of the recording sessions, which were held at Breathing Rhythm Studio in Norman, Oklahoma. "Everything we were doing felt forced and stiff. So after one day of working, we went out and had a beer, bought a 12 pack, smoked a joint, and came back and said, 'Let's just play some shit.' We ended up playing until about 3 am. We just repeated that for the rest of the sessions."
After our meeting, Hamman's heading out to Hood River so he and Galucki can do some swimming and play a show. It's a perfect day for the pair, and a perfect encapsulation of their friendship.
"He and I can deal with whatever," Hamman says, collecting his dishes. "If we're on tour and we've got two hours to kill, we'll go sit in a park or go drink a bunch of beer or whatever. Other people... they get real particular about things."