April 2005

See the full review by Ron Garman at Los Angeles City Beat (excerpts below)

“…wry tales of everyday West Coast life told with bittersweet Appalachian toughness and near-psychedelic instrumental flourishes.”

“The careful, layered instrumentation and traditional arrangements on their sophomore release, Grapevine, work remarkably well onstage, with songs like “Humboldt” (a dope-grower’s lament) and “Still Want You” pulling the plow like a Merle Haggard 45.”

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Overdub City

April 7, 2005

Recording our new CD continues at Paul Dugre’s studio in Burbank, at what must be described as a leisurely pace. Where did March go? Between guitar overdubs, Paul L. has taken to puffing on Dugre’s classic tobacco pipe after seeing Rob enwreathed in a thick and fragrant cloud of smoke, quite a sight. Electric guitar, Rob’s lead vocals, backgrounds, dobro–the Hawks are almost done. Then it’ll be on to nitpicking, i.e. mixing.

Tommy Funderburk, reknowned session vocalist now kicked upstairs to executive at Sovereign Records, did several background vocal parts and some heavy metallizing on “Jackpot.” Cody Bryant and Rick Shea dropped by for a live recording of banjo and acoustic guitars with the Pauls and Rob, three takes of “Golden Girl” in a half hour and these scary pros were done. Rick also added some righteous acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and old time mandolin on “Byrd From West Virginia.”A few days later Dave Zirbel drove down from way up north and laid down his classic pedal steel lines on a number of Hawks songs, went on a hike with Paul L. in startlingly green and waterlogged Griffith Park, got back in his truck and powered home on the 5.

Next came our Sovereign labelmate Chris Hillman, who showed up at noon on the dot with his new Gibson mandolin and nailed “Golden Girl,” “California Country,” and “Hard Times” in two hours. The guy can play. At one point Paul L. realized he was giving direction to the man who wrote “Sin City” and got a little lightheaded, but recovered, hopefully didn’t appear too starstruck. Live shows have been sparse but good, including a show with Mike Stinson at the Echo in Echo Park, Coles with the always scary Kip Boardman and Tony Gilkyson, a March Coles show with equally scary Lisa Haley and her rockin acoustic Cajun band, and a great house concert at Jeff and Paddi’s Highland Park aerie.

April arrived and the four Hawks drove to Santa Monica and signed with Sovereign, in a business meeting/yukfest that promised a September release of the new Hawks CD. We were considering “Kill Whitey” as album title, now thinking about others. Suggestions from the people?