Joe Hall of Hammer No More the Fingers began playing solo shows in January 2011 under the name JoLo. Prior to this, every musical idea Hall had was funneled through Hammer. A song was considered complete only after intense collaboration, practice and live performance. Sometimes ideas didn’t stick but Hall couldn’t let them go. The songs that didn’t develop further in Hammer soon became projects for Hall’s future solo record. Enter Blanko Basnet. Written and performed by Hall with the help of Jeff Stickley on drums and long-time friend and producer JLa, the 11-song self-titled album was recorded in a playhouse they frequented as kids in the Trinity Park neighborhood of Durham, NC.
With the record complete it became obvious that Hall would need to recruit musicians for a full band. Stickley was onboard and Hall enlisted Brad Cook of Megafaun to play bass. A love story of sorts manifested when Hall and Cook attended a Canine Heart Sounds show. “What about that guy?” Hall said, referring to multi-instrumentalist Matt Peterson. A four-piece was soon born and shows were booked. After the album release, Cook’s intense touring schedule opened up a spot for Matt McElroy of Canine Heart Sounds to join in his place.
The same vitality that drives Hall’s guitar rifts and vocal melodies in Hammer is unmistakable in his new endeavor. That said, Blanko is its own adventure and the live performance is very much a showcase of the musical talents of each member of the band.