Music writer picked up Hamilton vibe, coined Jam!lton

Freelance music writer Barry Brandow and his wife, Lois, made the 10-hour trip two years ago from Philadelphia to see Hamilton native David Shaw and his band, The Revivalists.

While here, he coined a new name for the Butler County seat: Jamilton. Now, city leaders have decided that when the band next plays the RiversEdge amphitheater, Jam!lton, with a salute to Hamilton’s punctuation-point past, will be the city’s name for a day.

And Hamilton-bred David Shaw, lead singer of The Revivalists, will be mayor for the same day, with Pat Moeller out of office on Sept. 9, during “David Shaw’s Big River Get Down.”

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The Almond Sisters bakery in Hamilton has been selling “Jam!lton” cookies already.

“I’ve seen it,” Brandow said about a photo of the cookies. “That’s so cool.”

“At the time, I was a writer for a website called, and they had asked me to write an article about the event,” said Brandow, who lives in Marlton, N.J., and is an independent distributor of Tastykake snacks.

“As a music writer, you’re always looking for something catchy, to get attention, and Hamilton and Jamilton just kind of rolled,” he said. “And I put it in my article.”

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After the article was published, he sent a link to the band, and to the city, which puts on the RiversEdge concert series each summer. Brandow was pleased to hear his work would be shared with the Hamilton City Council.

“That alone — I’m a writer for fun and experience — I never got paid for any of the articles I ever wrote,” he said. “When they told me they were going to share my article with the city council of Hamilton, that was enough for me to be flattered. I was totally flattered.”

“I responded back, just jokingly, ‘Hey, by the way, when you talk to city council, see if they’ll change the name of Hamilton to Jam!lton for the next Big River Get Down.’

He didn’t hear back until a couple weeks ago, when the city made the two honorary changes.

Hamilton decades ago attempted to officially affix an exclamation point to its name, so it would appear that way on maps, but a federal bureaucrat nixed the idea.

Brandow was impressed with Hamilton during his visit, and found the outdoor stage and its surroundings to be “beautiful.”

“It’s a beautiful background and backdrop, the way the stage is set up, and the (Courtyard by Marriott) hotel being next door,” he said.

As for the Revivalists, who recently have hit the top of Billboard charts and have performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and other shows, Brandow says of them: “They have mass appeal. Whatever kind of music you’re into, you’re bound to enjoy what you hear from the Revivalists. They’re great song-writers. They’ve been writing some of the best music that’s around today. Their live shows are high-energy.”

Brandow said he and Lois decided to visit the Hamilton show after learning that the band, Main Squeeze, which they had recommended that Shaw include in such a festival, also was on the lineup.

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