Voice Like Velvet

Romance will be in overdrive when Wade Hammond takes the stage at the Avi Resort & Casino on Valentine’s Day, Friday, Feb. 14.
His velvety voice will make its way through a variety of ballads for lovebirds during his “Country & Crooner Legends Show” in the Grand Ballroom (7 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m. NV time). Tickets are $20.
Hammond, a.k.a. “The Voice” is an award winning Nashville Christian recording artist and songwriter. He was the 2015 winner of the Inspirational Country Music Male Vocalist of the Year and was a nominee for the 2016 ICM Entertainer of the Year and Music Evangelist of the Year, along with 11 other national nominations during his career.
“I also have earned three No. 1 hits during my career — “Bitter Harvest,” “I’ll Stand Up For the Cross” (nominated for Song Of The Year), and “Don’t Forget To Pray” (nominated for Song Of The Year),” he said.
He’s also performed on the Grand Ole Opry.
While he’s known for his self-penned, faith-based songs, Hammond has the kind of rich baritone vocals that lend themselves to whatever he wants to sing, and for the Avi show, he’s focusing on love songs, both country, American songbook, and standards.
“I come out here to the desert three months out of the year, then go home to Birmingham, Alabama, for a while before going back to Nashville,” he said. “I’m in Lake Havasu City and we’ll go back to Alabama the first week of April. In the meantime, I’ve put together a show at the Avi Resort & Casino.
“The show I’ll be doing at the Avi will be strictly celebrating hits of legends like Waylon Jennings, Charlie Rich, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Eddie Rabbitt, Mickey Gilley, Randy Travis and a couple of Elvis’ songs,” he explained. “What we’re doing is the music of country legends and then I started throwing in ‘crooner’ music. I’m not an impersonator — I’ve been doing songs by Neil Diamond, Lou Rawls, Engelbert Humperdinck, Frank Sinatra and those kinds of artists.
“It’s a 90-minute show, it’s a fun show and I have a blast,” he added. “I get a good response from it.”
Hammond’s players include J.D. Miller (keyboards) who has worked with Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard, and Bette Midler.
“He’s also a Grammy Award winning songwriter, and he wrote the jingle ‘Nationwide is on your side,'” Hammond said. “When people laugh at that, he tells them he laughs all the way to the bank.
“The drummer is out of Las Vegas and his name is Raphael Erardy, who has worked with Danny Gans, Wayne Newton, Mary Wilson; our guitarist is Wayne Basye, who worked with Mac Davis; and Walt Gould will be on fiddle and mandolin. I’ll also be on the guitar,” he added.
No matter where Hammond performs, people seem to have their favorites.
“There are several songs that go over everywhere I go,” he said. “People always want me to sing George Jones’ ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today,’ and Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline,’ Engelbert’s ‘After the Lovin’, ‘New York New York,’ and Michael Buble’s ‘Feeling Good.’ He’s not the original artist, it’s a song from the ’60s.
“I’ve learned a lot performing out there, people in the Southwest loved Merle — it’s definitely Merle country. They also love Johnny Cash so I have to do a Cash song.”
While the show is a musical journey through classic country and American standards, Valentine’s Day is front and center.
“We are absolutely beefing up the romance,” Hammond said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to this show.”
Folks who attend the show will no doubt find out for themselves why Hammond is called “the Voice.”


Grand Ballroom at the Avi

Friday, Feb. 14 (7 p.m.)

See “Showtimes” for ticket info