British-born Claire Hamill has been in the music business all of her adult life. She was signed to Island Records before she left school, and released her first album for them, "One House Left Standing", in 1971. She followed that with "October", produced by Paul Samwell-Smith of "Yardbirds" fame. Those first two albums have recently been released on CD, and are available from Voiceprint Records.
For her next two albums, Hamill moved to Ray Davies' Konk Records. The first of these, "Stage Door Johnnies", was produced by Davies; the second, "Abracadabra", she produced herself. Unfortunately, in 1976, punk overtook the music world, and interest in original material like Claire's faded away. As she put it, "Everybody wanted to sign the next Sex Pistols". Her manager moved to the States, leaving her behind. "I was adrift - it was awful", she said. "I had always had a manager, and had no idea how to cope on my own."
At this critical juncture, she remembered her manager's parting words; "If you ever need any help, ring John Sherry." She did, and John did his best to get her work released, but the tide of the times was running against her. John was managing Wishbone Ash then, and when her solo career didn't take off, he suggested that she work with them for a time.
It was a good partnership, and Claire ended up not only doing vocals with the group but writing as well. She and Laurie Wisefield co-wrote the Ash classic, "Living Proof", and Claire performed with the band on "Number The Brave" and "Just Testing".
During this time Hamill married Nick Austin, of Beggars' Banquet, and began to think more and more about solo work. She left Wishbone in 1981, and released her next three albums on Austin's Coda label. One of the three, "Voices", became something of a New Age classic in the UK. "It is entirely a showcase for the human voice, with very few lyrics".
Hamill and Austin split up in 1992, and a year or so later she met her current partner, Andrew Warren. Together they have built up a studio, and their first album, "Summer", is now in release. The first 1000 copies of the CD contain a bonus CD-EP of material not featured on "Summer", including a remix of "Both Sides Now" and an interview with Claire.
In 1998 Claire & her partner Andrew Warren made their second guest appearance at the 5th annual AshCon in Mansfield. Claire's stunning vocals captured and held the audiences attention to a trance like state. What makes Claire's appearances so special is her performance with Wishbone Ash when they break into "Living Proof". It's truly one of the highlights of the show.