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January 2010

LA Weekly Pick

By Randall Roberts

It takes something special to make country rock in the 21st century and not have it sound like the millions of others who have done the same in the past 40 years. I See Hawks in LA have been making truly memorable twang rock in this city for the past decade, drawing on the Bakersfield, Nashville and Los Angeles versions of the sound to create solid, smart and hummable music. The title of their new collection Shoulda Been Gold, 2001-2009 rings true, to a certain degree. Shoulda? Yeah, maybe. But, alas, probably not going to happen unless I See Hawks in L.A. does some sort of extreme makeover. Hopefully that’s not gonna happen.

Daggerzine Reviews SBG

SHOULDA BEEN GOLD, 2001-2009-(AMERICAN BEAT)- Can’t claim to have ever heard of this bunch but from the sound and looks of it maybe they were Southern California’s answer to the Flatlanders? Just a guess there ..anywho, it seems they appeared on the scene in L.A. at the dawn of the 2000’s (during, as they say, “mellow’s last gasp”) armed with a batch of terrific songs and a political agenda hidden in the lyrics (ok, maybe not so hidden). Vocalist/acoustic guitarist Rob Waller and guitarist Paul Lacques decided that , after 4 records, they needed to release a great hits records only none of their songs were ever hits (at least not in the traditional sense) and it’s a good thing too as their other 4 records probably aren’t the easiest things to find. American Beat Records stepped up and on this 17 track collection you have 5 previously unreleased songs and the record includes the very Flying Burritos-esque opener, “Sexy Vacation” (not sure why this gem was previously unreleased) , the gorgeous, haunting title track, the pedal-steel-soaked “Humboldt”, the gentle, rolling acoustic “Byrd from West Virginia” and that’s just the first 4 tunes. They probably could have cut 5 or so of the tunes and made a real killer 12 song record, but really, I’m being picky here. SHOULDA BEEN GOLD is a marvelous record full of intelligent and well-written songs and if you’ve worn out your copy of SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO and need something new then this is a perfect choice.www.ccmusic.com

Beat Surrender: I See Hawks in LA – Shoulda Been Gold (Collectors’ Choice)

January 26th will see the release of Shoulda Been Gold the fifth album from Californian country-rockers I See Hawks in LA, a 17 track tongue-in-cheek greatest hits collection that takes in tunes from the bands previous albums as well as five new tracks, so you get the best of both worlds as the band, Rob Waller (guitar , lead vocals), Paul Lacques (guitar, vocals), Paul Marshall (bass, vocals) and Shawn Nourse (drums), take you on a 80 minute Cosmic American ride through their song repertoire old and new.

The guitars twang and shimmer around three part harmonies and fiddle, there are hooky choruses a plenty as the band play out their musical manifesto that calls heavily on the influence of Gram Parsons era Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers, what they do they do very well with excellent writing and consummate playing this a glorious collection of country rock originals, including my pick Humboldt

Check out the band at their website and Myspace for more tracks and get yourself a copy of the CD from the band’s shop.

See full article here.

The first Best of 2010 List

Read the full article here.

How uninspired, all the obligatory end-of-year rehash — the Best of 2009 This and the Top 10 Yada-yada of That. It’s all so… last year. But, the good news: This dog from the future just did a quick dash to December 2010, and I’ve brought back with me the easy winner for the Best Album of Next Year. It’s already here.

One of the benefits of having your own blog (aside from some capacity for time travel) is that you can favor whatever you want, with impunity. Even so, that the acclaimed psychedelic-country-folk-rock band I See Hawks in L.A. are good friends of mine has nothing to do with the fact that their forthcoming album, “Shoulda Been Gold,” takes the aforementioned honor. Hands down. It’s a dazzling collection from their deep trove of music produced and performed over the past decade — a greatest hits record, as they like to put it, that contains no hits. It comes out officially on January 26 from Collector’s Choice Music, but you can be one of the first to get a hold of it right now, right here.

And you most definitely should. The album contains 17 tracks of vivid aural history, its harmonies and insights drawn from an American decade of relative desolation. The Hawks are one of the great original bands you shoulda heard by now, if you haven’t already. Don’t just take my word for it, you can look ‘em up on The Google: There have been volumes of critical acclaim for their four albums dating back to 2000, from the Los Angeles Times to Spin to USA Today. (The latter notably sidestepped cliché in praising the band’s “versatility, variety and power” and “intriguing dystopian science-fictional bent in the lyrics” — that is, this ain’t your garden variety country-rock band, folks.) There are cult favorite non-hits here such as “Humboldt” and “Highway Down,” but I’m particularly partial to several of the new and newly released tunes, among them the plaintive yet incandescent title track “Shoulda Been Gold” and the Cajun-inflected twirler “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulet.” You’ll definitely start your new year out happy if you get your hands on this stuff.

“Hittin’ The Note” Review of SBG

Review from the Allman Brothers Fanzine:

* I See Hawks In L.A. is a great name for a band, the idea behind it, a stoned vision, going hand in hand with their adventurously-written country/rock of the Burritos-Poco-etc. classic kind. The liner notes to the boisterously but very appropriately-titled Shoulda Been Gold 2001-2009 shoulda been printed on the back of the jacket. A rambling, absorbing, funny as hell tome of up-to-date hippy ideology, it alone would be enough to coerce a purchase of the album. But every one of the songs is just superb. From the harmonies and driving rhythm of “Humboldt” to the kick-ass hick bluegrass of “The Salesman,” these guys go to great lengths with steel guitars and lonesome harmonies. “Hope Against Hope” is melancholy magnificence. “Raised By Hippies” could be Gram Parsons projecting down from psychedelic heaven. Singer Rob Waller has a fantastic, somewhat Springsteen-like voice, and the live cut, “The Mystery of Life,” is like something from the bare-bones country flip side of Nebraska. New material plays well alongside album tracks and vault material. Going forward, I See Hawks In L.A. every chance I get. (ISeeHawks.com)