F For many, music is an enriching part of everyday life—or at least a part of most days. For some, it’s an integral part of the ebb and flow of each 24 hour period. For fewer of us, music serves as the figurative magnet for our meaning for life; indeed, the songs take on the role of lodestone for both our joy and sanity.
By Matt Kersh
Ever since I can remember, I fell squarely into that final grouping. Since the earliest years of life, the emotions evoked by song were something otherworldly, indeed that nothing else seemed to be able to conjure.
I still have clear memories of being nearly moved to tears as a young boy listening to Del Shannon’s version of “Last Kiss” and thinking about how much that would’ve hurt to be a young man taking a young lady out on a date, in the midst of experiencing all of the euphoric feelings around that event, only to end the night in an accident that left your love dying in your arms. Or hearing Garth Brooks sing “Unanswered Prayers” as a youth, and having absolutely no clue how to identify with the feelings in that song, but still feeling like I understood. Only to years later know exactly what that song was talking about.
There isn’t a way for me to know what music does to you at your core, but, I think if you know what I’m talking about, then I’d say we’re a couple of the lucky ones. Or maybe not so lucky sometimes. At the very least, we are ones that get the unequivocal experience of having our very souls touched by the music.
For our column this month, we’ll be looking at an artist that I feel really understands that magnetic quality brought about by the power of a song. Someone that grasps the notion that music is a part of the lifeblood of a rich and meaningful life.
I first met Scott Hammock a handful of years ago around Boerne one night where music was the center of the evening. I liked him right away, and it was overdue to bring him in for a music column in EXPLORE.
In sharing about how he first was pulled into music, Scott states, “I blame my parents. My mom is both musical and incredibly artistic. We always had a piano, a guitar and other noise makers laying around the house growing up. My brother and I were always encouraged to follow our passions. My brother is also very musical and is a great bass and guitar player. For me, there has always been something incredible about music, any kind of music, that pulls me in and lets me be someone or somewhere else for that brief three and a half minutes. That intrigued me very early on.”
It seems with kids, music is either going to take hold of their heart or not. This will happen whether they’re forced to take lessons or are given zero push towards doing so. The Hammock household had the great experience of being around music, and artistry, and being encouraged with the freedom to follow the heart. That’s where magic can happen.
It’s always an important part for me to understand someone as a musician by hearing about what artists/songwriters have shaped them. Hammock opened up about how he was shaped. “My mom and I have seen James Taylor live, no less than 20 times. He is just as amazing with a 40 piece band as he is with just a guitar and his unmistakable voice. He’s probably my number 1 influence of all time. A very close second would be Garth Brooks. His stage presence alone makes the show, but then you add in his amazing writing ability and he is straight music royalty.” My Friend, I couldn’t be more supportive of these two choices. Both great impacts on my life and craft as well.
One of the things about Scott, he brings a passion to his life. If you spend time around him, you can see it. He brings it to his career, to his relationships, especially as a father and husband, and he brings it to his music.
“Sometimes writing a song takes a couple hours and sometimes it’s years in the making. So, as a songwriter, it’s like I’m out there completely naked, baring my soul by sharing something that I have created and love…something that’s an actual part of me. Sometimes people love it and other times they don’t. It is the single greatest feeling to write a song that touches someone. It’s equally as painful, thinking you had something wonderful and no one gets it, or even worse, downright hate it and are happy to let you know it. But that’s life. It’s all ups and downs and sideways spinning. Enjoy the ride and never take the negative things seriously.”
Most people don’t know, but Scott dropped out of high school at 17 to move to Hong Kong to start a company. There’s far more to the story, but the point is the passion and willingness to put yourself out there is a large part of what makes Scott relatable and endearing has been there for many years. “The music IS my happy place,” Scott continues, “It’s what recharges me and makes me feel alive. I always want more of it. Follow what makes you happy and never be afraid to take risks. If you want something, figure out a way not just to get it, but a way to make it truly great.”
The kind of infectious passion Hammock embodies is what happens when art and life are experienced in their purest form. Hearing him convey the love he has for his work, and songs, and especially the four ladies in his life, is truly beautiful. Scott’s lovely bride of a dozen years, Elaine, is the mother of his three wonderful girls. Their daughters are Rylee (10), Parker (7), and Emery (who will barely be a month old upon this issue being published).
“Be happy and be present in everything you do. These days, I am first and foremost DAD. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I wouldn’t trade one second with my little girls for another run at the road. I do miss writing and playing music, but my princesses will only be little for so long and I want to be there for all of it. Music is the reason I am where I am today. I met my wife in Nashville following the music. And I thank God that she brought me back to her hometown of Boerne, TX. Now we are raising our three little girls here, just like her parents did, in this amazing little slice of heaven. I don’t think my life could be more perfect. I still grab the guitar sometimes and start playing with a song idea, but inevitably, I end up in a game of “1,2,3 Floor is Lava” with my girls. Life is all about experiencing moments with the ones you love and I want as many moments with them as I can get.”
Well said, Sir. Well said. May we all find the kind of joy and purpose Scott brings to his world. Lord knows, we’d all be better off if that kind of living were the standard.