Truckload of Philosophers
Growing up in the rural Pennsylvania Dutch rooted town of Beaver Springs, PA, Hannah Bingman first began pleading to her parents for a guitar after discovering the Beatles and B.B. King in a seventh grade music class. It was at her surprise thirteenth birthday party that Hannah received her first guitar. Shortly beforehand, she broke her ankle in a tragic trampoline accident, keeping her out of her summer basketball league and leaving more time to devote to the new instrument. 'Suddenly, basketball didn't matter much...it couldn't at that time. I'd spend hours everyday with my little cast on my foot and my guitar on my lap,' Hannah remembers. With weekly lessons and a thirst for more, Bingman began writing her own 'little ditties' months after taking up the guitar. All the while, she was teaching herself Beatles tunes and old folk songs. She began listening to jazz and folk vocalists, such as Billie Holiday and Joni Mitchell. She paid great attention to the guitar work of blues players and to the storytelling of folk artists Woody Guthrie and Ani DiFranco. By age sixteen, she was testing her original material during open mic nights at every bar and coffeehouse in the Central PA area she could make her way into. 'My cat was serving as a great audience, by I needed something more,' Bingman jokes. 'For a little 16-year-old girl with an acoustic guitar that's bigger than her to walk in and then there's all these 50-some year-old guys with ponytails... they're there with their acoustic guitars like it's something new and then I play and they're just sitting there grinning.' Bingman found a mentor in local veteran singer/songwriter, Bruce Barr, and became a regular opening act for the guitarist. The stint instantly granted her acceptance into an often selective local audience. Her use of alternate six-string tunings, complex harmonies, and syncopated rhythms attracted ears of the young and old. Her thoughtful lyrics showcasing social and political among other universal themes connected and engaged listeners, keeping them wanting more. 'I just want people to think... just more in general... for themselves, for the sake of everyone... wake up' says Bingman. She soon was hitting the singer/songwriter circuit and delivering her own brand of folk to the audiences of coffee shops, bars, and punk shows. After just a year on the scene, Bingman was approached by regional record producer, Skip Kline, who offered to produce her first studio album. Accepting the offer, recording began in the homegrown Beaver Springs recording studio, Songcrafters, home to works by Davy Jones of the Monkees. Kevin Thomas and Ed Kenepp were brought into the studio to record live drum and bass tracks, respectively. James Harton added Hammond organ and Wurlitzer electric piano. State College musician Bob Klotz gave additional guitar parts and mixed the album. In two years, the project was completed. The live sound of a solo guitar and vocal mix now flourished with droning organs and driving drum beats. Truckload of Philosophers, released in October 2003, takes it's title from the second track on the album, 'The Towering Two', in which Bingman offers up a commentary on 9/11 and the wars it produced with lines like 'I got a truckload of philosophers and experts who can't quite understand/And it frightens me to think that they're making a big dollar off this degradable war.' In 2004, Bingman followed with an acoustic live album compiled from previous recorded performances at the Kind Café in Selinsgrove, PA and in summer 2005, she released a self-produced album of twelve new tracks entitled Right, Right Now. Taking the driver's seat, Hannah enlisted local musician, Kimbo Reichley, to record the tracks and her touring drummer, Keanan Barbour-March to lay down percussion. The end result is a more stripped down work offering little variance from her live show, this time offering banjo tracks and lead guitar layers added by the songwriter herself. Bingman currently spends the bulk of her time in Frostburg, Maryland, where she is currently earning a degree in music management at Frostburg State University, but on the weekends, the road is her home.