Friday, March 18, 2011

Charles Christian Hammer - An American Classical Guitarist

Located at the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Eureka Springs, AR.
Charles Christian Hammer
May 17, 1952 - Feb 18, 2004
Beloved Master Musician

No matter where The saints abide, They make
their circuit fair. Behold! How great a
firmament accompanies a star

Note: the epitaph at the bottom is from "No matter where the Saints abide," by Emily Dickinson
'Sir Charles' gave his music and love

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Carroll County News

Arrangements for memorial services for Charles Christian Hammer, 51, longtime Eureka Springs resident, are pending.

Hammer passed away in a Rogers hospital Wednesday evening. He had been hospitalized for treatment of a lung tumor.

Friday evening, he was honored as the Musician of the Year by members of the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce during the annual "Eureka's Best" dinner.

John Two Hawks called Hammer "my musical comrade" as he spoke briefly about "his magic hands and feet."

"He could turn a guitar into a river or a beating heart," Two Hawks said. "He knew the transforming power of his music. He was a master living in our midst. And at the end of the day, he was a lot of fun."

Many of his friends saw him as "a true Renaissance Man. Born with music in his soul, he brought light and joy to his family and friends as well as to the many who knew him from the beautiful music he created and shared with the world."

Hammer was born in May 17, 1952, in Chicago.

After graduation from high school in Virginia, Charles' love of the guitar led him to Puebla, Mexico, into private tutelage under Maestro Juan Gaspar for the next three years.

He was planning a spring tour in Mexico including performances in San Miguel de Allende, Puebla and Guanajuato.

He moved to Eureka Springs in the 1970s and became part of the musical establishment in the community, playing for weddings, special events, dinners and in Basin Park for the sheer joy of playing.

He earned a bachelor of arts and a master's degree in music at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

In the late 1990s, he taught guitar and music history at the university.

In 1998, he was awarded a music composition fellowship by the Arkansas Arts Council.

A respected classical guitar virtuoso, he often played on National Public Radio (NPR), and participated in educational programs sponsored by NPR in area schools introducing children to music.

He has recorded 11 albums. His latest is a collection of Beatles love songs, "It's Only Love."

Survivors include his longtime partner, Poco Carter, and his mother, Floss Schloss of Rogers.


The following info is from Wikipedia.

Charles Christian "Sir Charles" Hammer, (1952 - 18 February 2004), was an American classical guitarist.

Charles Christian Hammer was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1952. Hammer took up the guitar in his youth after hearing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. He purchased his first guitar with earnings from a newspaper route. Hammer was influenced heavily by The Beatles throughout his career.

During the 1970s Hammer moved to Mexico where he studied Spanish guitar. Hammer stated that his nickname, "Sir Charles", was given to him about this time by a "fairy princess" with golden hair, but it is more probable that the nickname arose from comments about the styling of his blond hair or the baroque puffy-sleeved shirts he wore on stage.

In the 1980s Hammer moved back to the United States, establishing himself as a local act in the small artist's retreat of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he performed at weddings and parties.

During this time and into the 1990s Hammer experimented in the studio. He generated 11 albums that combined electric and classical guitar but fell short of his long established goal of producing 30 albums during his lifetime.

In the late 1990s, Hammer taught guitar and music history at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a master's degree in music. In 1998 he was awarded a music composition fellowship by the Arkansas Arts Council. Hammer's final album was a classical guitar rendering of several of his favorite Beatles songs.

Just prior to his death Hammer began to experience some commercial success in the foreign market and was scheduled to tour three cities in Mexico. Hammer was a much-loved figure in Eureka Springs, especially by the local children for whom he put on school concerts.

In 2003 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Charles Christian Hammer died on 18 February 2004 at St. Mary's Hospital in Rogers, Arkansas. Hammer was survived by his long-time partner, Poco Carter, and their dog Prema.


  1. I think it's great that you dig up (graveyard pun alert!) the stories behind the memorials... makes everything tie together perfectly.

  2. I really enjoy finding the stories that go with the stones. It really is amazing what you can find with a little digging. Hehe pun intended.