Rolling Troubadour Tom Hannay Tells You Where to Shove It on “The Feeding Hand”

Tom Hannay
Tom Hannay’s “The Feeding Hand” is a masterclass in moderation: It’s bluesy, but not an Englishman ripping off Howlin’ Wolf. It’s alt-country but without ever pretending to have wandered the streets of Nashville. It’s grungey, but without the vicious angst.
Stream: “The Feeding Hand” – Tom Hannay


When you hear country, blues and grunge, you rarely think England. Yet, East London’s Tom Hannay has been able to channel these three styles so seamlessly it’s as if they called the same tiny island home. On “The Feeding Hand,” the first single from his debut album The Fire Waits (out May 2019 via Republic of Music), Hannay is able to weave these sounds with earnest lyrics, creating a genre-bending sing-a-long that is, in part, about living in a motorhome and touring around his homeland, playing music.

The result is a masterclass in moderation: It’s bluesy, but not an Englishman ripping off Howlin’ Wolf. It’s alt-country but without ever pretending to have wandered the streets of Nashville. It’s grungey but without the vicious angst. The result then, is a powerful, moving rocker that patiently builds into a rousing crescendo before Hannay’s motorhome rolls off into the sunset.

It’s the style of Kurt Vile, the riffs of Gary Clarke Jr, and the dramatic, powerful vocals of “Black Hole Sun”-era Chris Cornell all rolled into one laid-backed, riff-fuelled jam. While this sounds like it shouldn’t work, somehow Hannay not only excels but seems to do it naturally.

But this shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the variety of his limited catalogue.

Tom Hannay

Tom Hannay

As listeners, we can be guilty of expecting our artists to sound one particular way—this is doubly true for singer-songwriters like Hannay. He completely disregards our softly sung, softly strummed expectations, however, with his first EP, Throwaway Love, Songs.  The album is reminiscent of smooth ‘60s soul, while arguably his best work to date is a stunning acoustic cover of Springsteen’s classic “Dancing in the Dark” (who knew that song was so sad?)

However, this grungey-country sound only works because it’s might is matched by the powerful, dramatic vocals of Hannay. “The Feeding Hand” is raw and emotive, deep and forceful, driving home the song’s message of being resilient and coming to terms with the past:

Hell I know I’ve done evil,
But it’s the lesser of two
I surrender Lord,
I got this shit on lock down,
But the best intentions,
Always seem too few
Tom Hannay

Tom Hannay

Hannay’s earnestness shines through every word, as does his love for what he does. This isn’t an easy living by any stretch of the imagination—and it’s clear there’s some frustrations attached—but it’s a lifestyle he seems to relish. You can hear it in his voice as he belts his chorus one last time, with the same bite as the solo he plays himself out with:

Oh my lord, you can go
and stick it where the sun don’t shine
You can tell me that I’m blind,
Well baby you can bet our lives,
You know time is a cruel mistress,
Who lives in your bed then pisses in it,
Start singing a different song and I’ll sing along,
You know it’s just the same,
It’s been a long day,
We’re just like headlights in the rain

Hannay’s driven, rootsy music and honest approach creates a sound that carries the crashing power of a tidal wave – and the heart-calming rhythm of one, too. It’s never too much of any one thing – a Chris Cornell flair for drama, a guitar that wails the way you worry Hannay might at night – but, instead, a reminder that the magic can live in the space where influences mix and bleed.

Stream: “The Feeding Hand” – Tom Hannay

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Oliver Crook

Oliver Crook is a Canada-based journalist who has been playing guitar and deciphering lyrics since he first heard Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” blasting through his older brother’s bedroom walls. Although his taste has (somewhat) developed since then, his passion is just as strong as ever. When not writing about music, he can be found drinking too much coffee, complaining about the finickiness of avocados, and being disappointed by all of his favourite sports teams.