- Mike Rutledge Staff Writer
The next time Hamilton native David Shaw and his band, The Revivalists, play his hometown, the Butler county seat will officially be named Jam!lton that day, and Shaw shall be the mayor. Hamilton City Council approved a resolution for it Wednesday, 7-0.
The Revivalists’ Wish I Knew You reached No. 1 in the Adult Alternative Radio last fall, and No. 1 in Alternative Radio this May. The band performed two songs last week on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Riding that wave of popularity, Hamilton, which decades ago sought unsuccessfully to officially change its name to “Hamilton!” is to change its name to “Jam!lton,” with an exclamation point replacing the “i” just during the concert festival, “David Shaw’s Big River Get Down,” on Sept. 9. The city’s efforts to include an exclamation point in its name were spiked by a federal bureaucrat.
The band has been playing the RiversEdge Concert Series since 2012. In 2015, Shaw worked with the concert series to create David Shaw’s Big River Get Down, one of the city’s most popular annual events, which already has sold tickets from people as far as Nova Scotia and Los Angeles. In the three years since the series began, Shaw has donated $5,000 each year toward the city’s Independence Day fireworks.
Adam Helms, the city employee who oversees the concert series, credited the word “Jam!lton” to music reviewer Barry Brandow.
The word Jam!lton has caught on, Helms said.
“I told the mayor about it (the word Jam!lton), and he’s like, ‘Man, that’s pretty cool,’” Helms said. “And he’s like, ‘We should pass a resolution to change the name, unofficially, of course, to Jam!lton for a day.’ And then he took it one step further and said, ‘We should appoint David Shaw as the mayor of Jam!lton.’”
Shaw, who often speaks proudly of his hometown as his favorite place to play, sent this message through Helms: “C’mon, Jam!lton, let’s dance!”
Tracy Kocher, director of marketing for the Butler County Visitors Bureau, called the nickname and event “fantastic,” and said the bureau is happy whenever one of its communities does something unexpected. Hamilton is right to celebrate The Revivalists, she said: “They’re really hot right now.”
Don’t expect the city to launch another effort to add an exclamation point to its official name, by the way. And Alexander Hamilton will continue to remain the city’s namesake.
“The city of Hamilton has kind of moved away from that (the exclamation point), as part of our branding, but when we do something fun like this, it’s definitely nice to give a nod to the past, and it is kind of fun to throw that in there,” Helms said. “It’s almost quirky. The whole renaming Hamilton to Jam!lton is a little bit quirky, and throwing that exclamation in there was a cool nod to the past.”
“It you look at it, the exclamation point is right after the word Jam, and Jam is another word for playing music together with your buddies,” Helms said, “so we’re really emphasizing the jam, relative to music, part.”