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Alternative country, Americana … These generic terms now cover a galaxy of formations and artists as diverse as varied. From Uncle Tupelo and Giant Sand to Jayhawks and Calexico, their only real common denominator remains the thematic distance maintained with the original idiom, but also the formal permanence of its musical heritage. Originally (as their name implies) from Los Angeles, I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. employ pedal-steel, fiddle and dobro, as well as guitar picking borrowed from bluegrass and country rhythms. But DNA from local predecessors such as the Byrds and other Flying Burrito Brothers, as well as ecological concerns close to those of their ancient neighbors of the Grateful Dead circa “American Beauty” (“Ballad For The Trees”) are easily identified in their genealogy (“Live And Never Learn”, “Planet Earth”). They also count in their ranks a true veteran of psychedelia in the person of the bassist Paul Marshall (ex-Strawberry Alarm Clock, where he partnered with Ed King, future Lynyrd Skynyrd). Should we see the cause of lysergic incursions such as “Stoned With Melissa” or “My Parka Saved Me”?

The general climate of “Live And Never Learn”, their eighth album, lies between Gram Parsons’ country-rock and Townes Van Zandt (“Last Man In Tujunga”, “Tearing Me In Two”), and the neo-country of Gourds (“Poour Me”) and Asleep At The Wheel (“King Of The Rosemead Boogie”). While Rob Waller is responsible for most of the lead vocals, his three accomplices turn out to be accomplished choristers (including the new drummer, Victoria Jacobs, who is also capable of singing vocals). In short, legitimate perpetuators, who do not hesitate to loosen the shackles of a genre long threatened with sclerosis.

— Patrick Dallongeville, Paris Move, Blues Magazine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2018

AFTER TOUGH TIMES, I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. TO RELEASE EIGHTH STUDIO ALBUM, LIVE AND NEVER LEARN

First effort since 2013 due in stores and digital outlets June 29as band members cling to music and one another to overcome family loss, wildfires, and other travails.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.  — I See Hawks in L.A. soared relatively trouble free for the first decade of their existence, but in 2018 they’re emerging from a string of confrontations with mortality, life choices, and the slow leakage of youthful possibility.  It’s been almost 17 years since the release of their eponymous debut — on September 11, 2001. They didn’t get rich, they didn’t get famous, and yet they’re still here, perhaps benefitting artistically from the rocky passage. The rich flavor of battered soul. It’s clear these Hawks are in it for the music, for each other, and for the adventure of it all.

Live and Never Learn is the first new Hawks album since 2013’s Mystery Drug. It’s been five hard years. In March of 2015, member Rob Waller lost his mother suddenly to pancreatic cancer, and Paul Lacques lost both his parents this past year. Most of the songs on Live and Never Learn were written and recorded while they were dealing with these primal griefs, as well as other personal battles dire but with better outcomes. From the Hawks to those who have lost parents: “Now we understand.”

Loving families, good friends, and making music helped get the band through those times, personally and artistically. The Waller/Lacques songwriting is augmented here with contributions from Hawks bassist Paul Marshall and drummer Victoria Jacobs. One song, the rocking “King of the Rosemead Boogie,” features twisted lyrical and spiritual contributions by members of Old Californio.

Two songs, “White Cross” and “Singing in the Wind,” were co-written via email with Peter Davies of the U.K.’s Good Intentions, and feature the Hawks’ signature electric sounds of reverby Telecaster, thumping Fender bass, and tight harmonies, while the lyrics take listeners from the backstreets of Memphis to the windswept moors of Northern Ireland.

“Last Man in Tujunga” brings us back home to the more familiar geography of smoky Southern California hills. The song, written by the Hawks some years back, tells the story of a breakup unfolding over a cell phone call as the flames get closer. Its appearance here is all the more appropriate and timely, as Marshall was forced to evacuate his Tujunga home twice in the fall of 2017. He was “almost out of minutes” as the “flames were licking at the gates.”

Many of the tracks on Live and Never Learn directly address the band’s personal struggles. “Poour Me” explores the dead-serious theme of a drunk’s self-pity but it’s wrapped up in a light-hearted and humorous approach familiar to any Hawks fan. Dave Zirbel adds classic country pedal steel for this regretful farewell to drinking, as Waller calls out, “I guess I better not have no more.” Zirbel hit the emotional core of many songs on this record, subtle and surprising as always.

Drummer Victoria Jacobs, also an accomplished songwriter, contributes a wistful meditation on the passing of time with her psychedelic folk masterpiece “Spinning.” Night worries and fantastical images illuminate this hauntingly beautiful tune. Jacobs also narrates another touching fable in “My Parka Saved Me,” recounting her real life head-on collision as a teenager on a winter afternoon by Lake Michigan. The Hawks’ doo-wop vocals, ’50s chords, and Danny McGough’s sweet B3 give the terrifying tale a soft landing.

Some classic Hawks themes also appear on this album. “Planet Earth” and “Ballad for the Trees” reflect the band’s longtime interest in ecology and conservation. “Stoned With Melissa” appears to be another Hawks weed anthem, but with a sad and realistic twist. “King of the Rosemead Boogie” introduces an imagined hero of the San Gabriel Valley in all her (his?) glory.  Regret and earth/spirit duality return in “Isolation Mountains” and “Tearing Me in Two,” both brought to fruition by the deep fiddle of longtime collaborator Dave Markowitz, and broke-the-mold accordionist Richie Lawrence.

This spring, good news has returned for the Hawks and their families. The band finished tracking and sent the files off to four-time Grammy-winning mixer Alfonso Rodenas (Los Tigres del Norte), who mixed Mystery Drug as well as several other Lacques-produced projects. The mixes came back sounding great, and the Hawks felt a surge of optimism, perhaps irrational, perhaps a crucial tonic to these gloomy times. Now Live and Never Learn is here and the Hawks sound better than ever. With shows in California and the U.K. coming up this summer they’re feeling good and can’t wait to hit the stage and sing, together again, together as always.

Live and Never Learn is available now to fans through a Kickstarter campaign and will be released in stores and all digital outlets on June 29, 2018.

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For more information regarding I See Hawks in L.A., please contact Conqueroo:
Cary Baker • (323) 656-1600 • cary@conqueroo.com

FUNDRAISER FOR KEVIN 
Saturday, April 14th at 6:00 PM 
Art Studio
2005 N San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles, CA 

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First solo album from I See Hawks in L.A. lead singer Robert Rex Waller Jr. A record of his favorite cover songs in many styles featuring several Hawks and many other fine musicians including Robert Rex Waller Sr, Nora Germain, and Marc Doten.

12670310_10153435155320840_5606841882223371453_nWe’re headed up the Grapevine to see our friends to the North!
GET YOUR MIND RIGHT
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5th
2:30 pm
LIVE in the Loam on KDRT 95.7FM and streaming on KDRT.org
hosted by The Folk Brothers (Peter Schiffman and Bill Wagman)
8pm
The Palms Playhouse
two big sets, lots of hugs and appreciation
live on KVMR 89.5FM and streaming on KVMR.org
13 Main Street
Winters, CA
$20
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6th
8 pm (note early start time)
The Makeout Room
with RED MEAT!
3225 22nd Street
San Francisco, CA
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7th
12-2pm
Super Bowl Pre-Game with the Hawks!
with our buddy Dave Zirbel sitting in on pedal steel
plus Matthew and Peter Lacques too!
Folkish Festival at Marin County Mart
227 Larkspur Landing
Larkspur, CA
FREE!