The story behind the Hartmann

The history of Hartmann began in summer 2004 when Oliver Hartmann decided to record his first solo album. During this time he was already well known as a highly respected singer on the international music scene since the late 90’s due to four successful records with the power metal band At Vance, his participation in top sellers as Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia and many other well known productions in the hard rock and metal scene. During the following months the band played their first single shows and festivals in Germany and luckily got the chance in summer 2006 to be touring over Europe for the first time as support for rock legend Toto. In autumn 2006 the band went back to the studio to record the second album ‘Home’ with a slightly rougher and modernized band sound. Released in spring 2007 the album again received great critics.

This release was followed by two support tours for House Of Lords in early spring 2007 and for The Hooters in summer 2007. In September 2007 the band played two exclusive shows in the intimate atmosphere of the old German varieté theater ‘Pegasus’ in Bensheim/Germany. Supported by the three amazing background singers Ina Morgan, Kolinda Brozovic and Tiffany Kirkland as special guests both shows were filmed and recorded for the live DVD/CD ‘Handmade’ which was released in spring 2008. It is uniting outstanding material like real „handmade“ versions of both studio albums, previously unreleased tracks and a cover version of John Miles’ ‘Music’.

After Oliver’s world-wide tour in summer 2008 as guitarist and singer for Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia and several European shows with Hartmann as special guest for Edguy in spring 2009, the third album ‘3’ was released in late 2009 on the new founded and artist owned record label SONIC 11. During the following two years the band played numerous shows and festivals and was asked to be special guest on tours of bands such as Mother’s Finest, Uriah Heep and Y&T.

In mid of 2011 Oliver and the band started again to write songs for a new studio album of Hartmann and in April 2012, right after Oliver had been touring with the successful live project ‘Rock Meets Classic’ (feat. Ian Gillan, Jimi Jamison, Steve Lukather, Chris Thompson and Robin Beck), the recordings for ‘Balance’ were completed. This fourth album, released by Avenue of Allies Label in June 2012, was once again mixed by Sascha Paeth at Gate Studio and offered top-produced, melodic Rock music with a modern approach and international class.

In summer 2012 Hartmann was again special guest on Toto’s tour in Germany – the last concerts with the band for drummer and former member Dario Ciccioni who got married and decided to move to New York. After a few auditions searching for a new drummer Markus Kullmann (Voodoo Circle, Desperadoz, Glenn Hughes) joined the band in autumn to play his first gigs with Hartmann on a double headliner tour in November and December 2012 with German hard rock act Jaded Heart.

In 2012 Oliver joined ‘ROCK MEETS CLASSIC‘ feat. rock legends as Ian Gillan, Alice Cooper, Paul Rodgers, Steve Lukather and many others. Later the same year the HARTMANN album ‘Balance‘ was released receiving great critics world wide, often rated as „best album of the band“ and accompanied by tours again with TOTO and JADED HEART. After the compilation ‘The Best Is Yet To Come‘ in 2013, another two tours of Oliver with RMC, AVANTASIA‘s ‘Ghostlights-Tour‘ and the production of the Live-DVD/CD ’Barefoot To The Moon’ with his Pink Floyd Tribute ECHOES, the studio album ‘Shadows & Silhouettes‘ was released in 2016. With its numerous ballads and many acoustic elements this album is one of the band’s calmer outputs.

In early 2018 the heavier follow up ’Hands On The Wheel’ was released, which contains the duet ’Simple man’ featuring MR. BIG’s vocalist Eric Martin and received again great critics world wide. Besides many concerts and festivals in Germany, Austria and Switzerland the tour also included 4 headliner shows in Spain for the first time.

After touring in Europe with ‘Hands on the wheel’ in 2018/2019 and Oliver’s participation on AVANTASIA’s world wide ‘Moonglow-Tour’ his band HARTMANN celebrated their 15th anniversary in 2020 with the latest album ’15 Pearls And Gems’. Released in April 2020 the album contains brand new songs as ‘Walking on a thin line’ , well chosen cover tracks as the duet ‘When the rain begins to fall‘ featuring Ina Morgan, member of AVANTASIA and one of Germany’s greatest female rock vocalists and live versions of the band’s songs that have been recorded on their concerts during the past 15 years. These live recordings also include the outstanding duet ‘Brothers’ feat. Avantasia’s mastermind Tobias Sammet on vocals, originally recorded as studio version for the album ‘3’ in 2009, which has been re-released contemporaneous with the new album.

After postponing and cancelling all planned and confirmed anniversary touring dates due to the pandemic, the good bye from guitarist and former member Mario Reck, the band around Oliver Hartmann decided to replace the release concert at Colossaal Aschaffenburg / Germany with a special live stream on YouTube and Facebook in June 2020. Besides the participation of former members and guest musicians the band got reinforcement on board for this show with the long-time colleague, vocalist and guitarist Ina Morgan (Avantasia, ex-Udo Lindenberg, Tony Carey). Due to demand of many fans this concert is also available in the band’s online shop named ’15th Anniversary Concert’.

With a special ‘handmade’ acoustic format, a modified line-up again including Ina Morgan on vocals and guitar the band caught up the postponed tour dates with 15 open air shows during their ’15th Anniversary Acoustic Tour’ in summer and autumn 2021.

Since the work on new song material has continued constantly during the past two years the band has just finished the recordings for a new studio album that will now be released in autumn 2022. In addition to a few festivals and open air shows this summer the band is now looking forward to announcing new tour dates for autumn and to releasing their forthcoming tenth studio album!