June 2018 brings the 8th CD release from Southern California’s leading country-folk-rock band I See Hawks In L.A.: “Live And Never Learn,” with the Hawks’ unique take on honky tonk, L.A. psychedelic country rock, Celtic, and electrified two step, driven by new drummer/songwriter Victoria Jacobs and the usual crew of Rob Waller, Paul Marshall, and Paul Lacques. The Hawks tour UK July 19 — August 12 with shows from London to Skye.
The Hawks are noted for their lyrical celebrations and lamentations of earth and ecosphere, odes to the endless highway, and wry social commentary. They’ve
gathered a loyal tribe around the globe, from many U.S. and Europe/UK tours, consistently rave reviews from critics, and a serious presence in the top 10 of the Freeform American Roots chart (#1 four times, including a #1 debut for “Live And Never Learn”), the Americana Chart, and the Euro Americana chart (top ten several times, including the new release).
Formed in 1999 by Rob Waller and brothers Paul and Anthony Lacques during a philosophical discussion and rock throwing session on an East Mojave desert trek, I See Hawks In L.A. first gathered on the front porch in Echo Park, Los Angeles, drank whiskey and wrote their first batch of songs. They then sought advice from local country rock guru David Jackson (John Denver, Dillard and Clark, EmmyLou Harris).
Jackson promptly joined the Hawks for their first recording, featuring legendary fiddler Brantley Kearns (Dwight Yoakam, Dave Alvin). The CD established the Hawks signature sound: dense three part harmonies, innovative telecaster and steel, or unadorned acoustic arrangements, musing on mortality, whales, and the geography of pre-apocalyptic L.A.
The Hawks’ second CD, “Grapevine,” was released on the summer solstice 2004, and immediately went to #1 on the F.A.R. Chart, and hit #2 on XM Radio’s Outlaw Country. With the addition of heavyweight bassist and big league vocalist Paul Marshall (Strawberry Alarm Clock) and Dwight Yoakam’s drummer Shawn Nourse, the Hawks live sound got big and started to rock and psychedelicize.
The Hawks released their third CD, “California Country,” in June 2006, with guest spots from Chris Hillman, Rick Shea, Cody Bryant, Danny McGough, and Tommy Funderburk. Tackling subjects like despair in Disney World, blackjack in Jackpot, hippie parenting, donkeys, and Senator Byrd from West Virginia, “California Country” brought more bluegrass, Phase 90 country psychedelia, and steel driven honky tonk to the Hawks sonic empire.
That summer the Hawks hit the road with Tony Gilkyson and Kip Boardman for a 57 show tour of the US and UK: thirty states, two currencies, many varieties of local whiskey, including highland single malts and North Carolina moonshine, not a lot of sleep, and too much fun. Highlights included the Belladrum Festival, with peat fires and teepees near Inverness, Scotland; live radio in futuristic BBC studios; a Vermont barn dance; an outdoor festival near Yellowstone, and Seattle’s Hempfest; and Joe’s Pub in NYC.
The mid-oughts saw the Hawks embraced by many of their roots predecessors, billed across the country with Lucinda Williams, Dave Alvin, Old 97s, The Mavericks, Peter Case, Bernie Leadon, Chris Hillman and Herb Petersen, Meat Puppets, and Ray Wylie Hubbard.
In March ’08 the Hawks cut their 4th CD “Hallowed Ground,” with Celtic influences and stellar guest spots from fiddlers Gabe Witcher and Dave Markowitz, pedal steeler Dave
Zirbel, and accordionist Richie Lawrence. Released to rave reviews, “Hallowed Ground” hit #1 on the Freeform American Roots radio chart, hovering in the top 10 for four months, and hitting #4 on the Euro Americana Chart.
Spring 2010 brought the release of “Shoulda Been Gold” on American Beat records, an ironically titled best of compilation, with early unreleased recordings and five new songs.
“New Kind Of Lonely” was released in 2012, right on time–I See Hawks In L.A. by fate or mysterious internal rhythm put out a CD every other year since their first release. The very personal and somber (except for the comedic moments, of course), all acoustic new music, and a big reception at the FAR West Folk Convention and the national folk convention in Memphis, expanded the Hawks audience to the folk world. Psychedelic honky tonk or old timey acoustic? The Hawks choose both, and both have chosen the Hawks.
Most recent release Mystery Drug was a return to the surreal and fearless wordplay of early 2000s Hawks method–a reconvening of the tribe, the stellar musicians that enrich the Hawks sound, introducing new drummer and songwriter Victoria Jacobs, with musings on Starbucks baristas as surrogate friends, Irish ancestors trekking across Texas, Comanche ghosts watching aquifers wither, and existence as a moral construct.
I See Hawks In L.A. are headliners at McCabes, Old Town School of Folk Music Chicago, Slims, Joe’s Pub NYC, Grand Performances (L.A.) and other top national venues.
Festival appearances: Stagecoach, Strawberry Festival (CA), Down On The Farm (Halden, Norway), Maverick Fest (UK), Solas Fest (UK), Belladrum Tartan Heart (UK), Hempfest (Seattle), French Broad River Fest (NC), Earagail Arts Festival (Northern Ireland), Westport Bluegrass Festival (Ireland), Celtic Fusion Fest & Earagail Arts Festival (Ireland), Carter Ranch Fest (CA), Frogtown Artwalk (CA), Humboldt Summer Music And Arts Festival (CA), Cadenberge Festival (Germany), Albino Skunkfest (SC), Silverlake Street Scene (CA), Santa Monica Music Festival (CA), Los Feliz Street Scene (CA)