≡ Menu

News & Opinion

Hawks 10th Record “On Our Way” due August 27th, 2021

I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. RELEASE THEIR TENTH ALBUM,ON OUR WAY, NEW DIRECTIONS SPUN FROM STRANGE TIMES,SET FOR AUGUST 27 RELEASE
WATCH + HEAR NOW: 
Americana Highways premiered the new video of the title track: https://bit.ly/3gQO9BG

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” has earned its hoary immortality in Memeville.

That’s how it was from February 2020 onward. That’s how it hit I See Hawks in L.A., who played their final live show at Ben Vaughn’s Wonder Valley Festival. The evening was charged, Ben and the Hawks (as ISHILA is otherwise known) pushing against the unknown at the edge of the desert night. 

I See Hawks in L.A. — who will release their first post-pandemic album, On Our Way, on August 27, 2021 — tell the rest of story in their own words: 

And then, well you know. Le lockdown. For I See Hawks in L.A., it was disruptive, but we’re drawn to disruption, we create disruption, it’s a creative source, and here it was handed to us writ large by global fate. How do little old us ride this floodwave?   

Well, we dove in, digitally. Without ever playing music together. As was near universal for musicians, reality was the all-embracing screen, vivid cyber images that sang and played drums and guitar. 

Rob Waller and Paul Lacques went on an uncharacteristically locked-in songwriting schedule, , every Friday Facetiming it at the crack of 4 p.m., quite a challenge (you can’t play guitars at the same time) — but also an oasis from chaos. Pure strange joy. We cranked out an album’s worth of songs, with big contributions from drummer Victoria Jacobs. 

Social and eco commentary have always marked our lyrics. This period of genuine global and American crises have made pontificating particularly perilous and delicate. How do you state your views without exploiting genuine suffering? We went historic and oblique, with songs about Geronimo, Muhammad Ali, the Faulknerian dilemma, in language sometimes more abstract and mirroring than narration. (We take some rambles, but there are also classic Hawks two-beats and country rockers about Marin wiccans, London markets, and the [un]certainties of love and broken hearts.) 

Then began the studio game, ProTools trial by error, error in abundance. Why don’t these tracks line up? Can we use an iPhone recording? (Yes.) Rob sends a vocal and guitar. Paul and Victoria cut drums, Paul Marshall cuts bass and vocs. We recut. Okay, sounds like music. We got beautiful guest performances from our compadres Danny McGough, Brantley Kearns, Dave Zirbel, Richie Lawrence, Rich Dembowski and Woody Aplanalp (Old Californio), Joe Berardi, Marcus Watkins and Marc Doten (Double Naught Spy Car), and James Combs and Ed Barguiarena (Great Willow).    

There are always silver linings. A big one for us was the realization that we need music far more than it needs us. Singing and playing, even locked into computer recording, was a life raft. It seems to have gotten us to shore: some hopefully classic vibe Hawks and some new sonic directions born of the limitations and possibilities of the studio only universe.  A lurch into modernity.

I See Hawks in L.A. are Southern California’s leading alt country/Americana/folk rock band.  Noted for their lyrical celebrations of earth and ecosphere, odes to the endless highway, and wry social commentary, they’ve gathered a loyal and global tribe 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, the Americana Chart, and the Euro Americana chart. 

The Hawks were formally spoken into existence 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.   

The miles and songs have launched a never-ending musical dialogue with planet Earth and its strange inhabitants, and brought the Hawks into concert or recording collaborations with Chris Hillman, Lucinda Williams, Dave Alvin, Old 97s, The Mavericks, Peter Case, Gabe Witcher, Bernie Leadon, Meat Puppets, Rick Shea, Lucinda Williams, Dave Alvin, Old 97s, The Mavericks, Peter Case, Gabe Witcher, Bernie Leadon, Meat Puppets, and Ray Wylie Hubbard

ISHILA have headlined at McCabe’s, Old Town School of Folk Music Chicago, Slims (RIP), Joe’s Pub, and Grand Performances (L.A.), where in 2019 they were honored to be house band for a night of global protest songs, and other top national venues. 

Festival appearances:  Stagecoach, Strawberry Festival, 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) 

“For 17 years and eight albums, the Hawks have expressed ecological concerns, irreverent wit and oft-psychedelic perspective in unequaled and distinctly American music–sort of a rural Steely Dan. The house band for the hippy diaspora deliver another gem.  The finest country rock band on the planet.” —Michael Simmons, MOJO (Top Ten Americana 2018)  

“One of California’s unique treasures.” —Dave Alvin

“I See Hawks In L.A. delivers more timeless twang.” —Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times 
Listening page
Video channel here

Americana UK: Something for the (long) weekend: I See Hawks in LA/Great Willow “Radio Keeps Me on the Ground”

link to full article

Well that’s a wrap from us for this week dear reader. Enjoy your “stay at home” VE Day celebrations if you’re doing anything, remembering of course that we don’t have to live on the borrowed symbolism of some imagined time when we’ve got heroes in each and every one of our communities right now. We’ll be back on Monday but for this week we’re leaving you with the new collaboration between LA americana legends I See Hawks in LA and Great Willow, who both took up 88.5 KCSN’s Nic Harcourt’s recent #togethertunes invitation and created the terrific song‘Radio Keeps Me On The Ground‘ which you can stream or download from here. Have a good one and stay safe.

>>> Please help to support musicians affected by the coronavirus crisis in the UK by donating £2 a month to us – we’ll send you an exclusive 20 track curated playlist every month plus the opportunity to win tickets and CDs. Click here for more information. 

markamericana

Liverpool, UK

Editor of Americana UK website, the UK’s leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)

TWANGVILLE: RADIO KEEPS ME ON THE GROUND

THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2020 BY SHAWN UNDERWOOD 

link to full article

If you were born in the last century, radio, not podcasts or downloads, was the soundtrack to your life. That’s the idea behind an interesting collaboration between I See Hawks In LA and Great Willow, both LA bands. Nic Harcourt, DJ at KCSN, one of the epicenters of Americana in southern California, issued a pandemic challenge: collaborate on a song with another band entirely remotely. So with a little Facetiming to solidify the idea, Hawks and Willow members started emailing tracks back and forth until they had a final mix that satisfied everyone. The song is called Radio Keeps Me On the Ground, and if you download it from Bandcamp 25% of the proceeds go to a charity for at-risk Angelenos, the hardest hit community in our state.

About the author:   I’ve actually driven from Tehatchapee to Tonopah. And I’ve seen Dallas from a DC-9 at night. 


FILED UNDER: AMERICANACOUNTRY TAGGED WITH: GREAT WILLOWI SEE HAWKS IN L.A.

Hawks and Great Willow Release Collaborative Single “Radio Keeps Me On The Ground”

 I See Hawks In L.A. & Great Willow release  “Radio Keeps Me On The Ground” acoustic/electric single about coronavirus crisis

May 22 2020

digital only release all streaming & download platforms (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc) 

It started with an invitation from DJ Nic Harcourt at premier L.A. Americana radio station KCSN 88.5 FM:   collaborate on a coronavirus themed song with your musical friends, make healing music for these upended times.  A project called #TogetherTunes              

I See Hawks In L.A. and fellow Los Angeles folkies Great Willow have a longstanding mutual admiration society, and when James Combs of the Willow invited the Hawks to collaborate, they jumped on it.

Writing and recording by email has been interesting.

James and Hawks guitarist/songwriter Paul Lacques traded song ideas and came up with two very different sketches based on Paul’s chorus hook.  Interesting.  Now we had two songs.  Hawks singer/songwriter Rob Waller climbed aboard on a glitchy Facetime session with Paul, wrestling the two versions into verses and bridges, came up with a few more lines, and voila: “Radio Keeps Me On The Ground.” 

What started with lyrics addressing our upended lives turned into a love letter to radio, the constant in our lives pre and post crisis, the magic in the air, the aether, the wide open.

James recorded acoustic guitars and lead vocals, cyber sent his tracks to Paul, who cut his electric and steel, with Hawks drummer Victoria adding drums and vocals, in their Highland Park studio.  Rob and bassist Paul Marshall cut and emailed their tracks, with some sweet organ added by GW’s Ed Barguiarena.   Four time Grammy winner Alfonso Rodenas mixed and mastered.  A classic country rock sound resulted, emerging with soul from its digital realm.  

Just for fun, we did a more ethereal acoustic (Datura version) of the song, resulting in a two song electric/acoustic single.

“Radio Keeps Me On The Ground” addresses the crisis as viewed from our windows and screens, contrasting the limitations of today with the freedom of the road of just yesterday.  But no matter how bombarded we are by the reality of the streets or the info overload of the web we all live by, there’s always radio.  In our backyards or kitchens, it keeps us real. On the ground.

www.iseehawks.com                  contact Paul:        lacques at sonic.net

www.greatwillowmusic.com      
contact James:      jamescombsmusic at me.com

listen now!

RADIO KEEPS ME ON THE GROUND                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lacques/Combs/Waller

It’s never been easier 
To lose your mind
Rabbit holes in the cloud
You don’t even have to try
You don’t have to cry
Or walk on by

Radio keeps me on the ground            
Radio keeps me on the ground

There’s never been a lonelier time
To learn to breathe in a way
That you won’t have to fly
Be fertile in this empty time
This will pass
By and by

 Radio keeps me on the ground
Radio keeps me on the ground

  A stranger’s voice
An invisible wind
Your almost friend
He’s almost you, you’re almost him
Yeah, she’s almost you
You’re almost you
But it’s different
On the road unsigned
Unknown frequencies
A twist of the dial
Unknown frequencies
A twist of the dial                 

Radio keeps me on the ground
Radio keeps me on the ground

Hawks In Silver City, NV Saturday, Jan 11th, 2020

Americana UK reviews “Hawks with Good Intentions”

by Paul Kerr
link to full article

California’s I See Hawks In L.A. and Liverpool’s Good Intentions met and became friends at a house concert in California back in 2012. Since then, the bands have shared stages in the States and here in the UK and along the way they began writing some songs together, the first fruits of their joint effort displayed on the Hawks’ last album, ‘Live And Never Learn‘, which had two songs co-written with Peter Davies of Good Intentions. Bouncing emails and mp3 files across the Atlantic they eventually came up with the ten songs on display here, sections recorded in L.A. and Liverpool with each of the bands’ contributions stitched together so well that the join is never seen. As it says on the sleeve, “Gleaming technology serving acoustic guitars and down home harmonies.”

It’s primarily an acoustic album with drums on only one song and some spare lap and slide guitar from Paul Lacques present. Lead vocals are shared between Davies and the Hawks’ Rob Waller and Victoria Jacobs while the other member of Good Intentions, Gabrielle Monk, weighs in on backing vocals. As such, it’s a collection which is finely laidback as various guitars strum and harmonies float reminding one of the “wooden music” side of CSN&Y or the more blissed out moments of the good ole’ Grateful Dead along with a sprinkling of acts such as The Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Loggins & Messina. Writing in various permutations with Waller, Lacques and Jacobs, Davies has a hand in all but one song and it’s his voice which opens the album on ‘Blue Heaven‘, a sun dappled slice of nostalgia laden with harmonies and sly Dobro, the kind of song which could accompany faded home movies of flower children celebrating. Waller takes the reins for the following western themed ‘Things Like This‘, a taut Larry McMurtry like murder tale which skittles along like tumbleweed before Weller and Davies swap their contrasting lead vocals on ‘Rolling The Boxcars‘, a gambling song with the protagonists always on the losing end with the song delivered as if all were singing around a late night campfire.

Plenty to admire then in this opening triumvirate which showcases the strengths of both ends of this collaboration. But there’s much more to come as the combo accommodate the folkier side of Davies on the Tom Paxton like ‘Rambling Girl‘ (with The Punch Brothers’ Gabe Whitcher on fiddle) and then  allow Waller to deliver the excellent railroad chug of ‘Steel Rails‘. ‘White Cross‘, one of the songs which appeared on ‘Live And Never Learn‘, remains as sinewy as the original while ‘Flying Now‘ finds Davies down on his luck but ever hopeful on a song which recalls the late Ronnie Lane especially with its accordion accompaniment from Richie Lawrence. ‘Epiphany On Town Hall Square‘, while fitting well into its surroundings in terms of its delivery, is somewhat odd, bearing as it does, echoes of a Christmas carol in its setting but the closing ‘Will You Watch Over Me‘, the one song written solely by Lacques and Waller, is bang in the Hawks canon as it gently rolls along with rippling guitar accompaniment  invoking a greater spirit.

Collaborations can often be tricky affairs but it feels safe to say that on this occasion fans of either band will be satisfied by ‘Hawks With Good Intentions’. It simply  radiates good vibes as these transatlantic cousins find common cause.

Hands Across The Water

7/10

LAWeekly Names Hawks Best Country Group

I See Hawks In L.A.

EXPAND

Best Country Group
I See Hawks In L.A. are a house band of the Hippie diaspora. Twenty years and eight albums on (with a ninth en route), the country-rock quartet has supplied pot anthems (“Humboldt”), political profiles in courage (“Byrd From West Virginia”) and ecological laments (theme song “I See Hawks In L.A.”). Baritone lead singer Rob Waller and virtuosic string slinger Paul Lacques scribe these literate, pointed contemporary classics, while drummer Victoria Jacobs contributed the loopy hoot “My Parka Saved Me.” With bassist Paul Marshall, the front line’s close harmony is reminiscent of The Byrds — both flocks being rootsy and psychedelic avian-christened Los Angeles-based freaks. —Michael Simmons

link to full article

L.A. TIMES : I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. DELIVERS MORE TIMELESS TWANG

link to full article 

by Randall Roberts
Los Angeles Times
July 19, 2018

I See Hawks in L.A., “Live and Never Learn” (Western Seeds Record Company). Within the first two verses of this longtime twang band’s eighth studio album, singer-guitarist Rob Waller has asked some big questions about contemporary America, and has done so through a genre — guitar-driven country rock — that hasn’t changed much since the Nixon presidency.

After noting in opening song “Ballad for the Trees” that that “every age is without precedent,” Waller wonders whether “we’ve broken with how to be alone,” and asks, “Are we drowning in the sea/ Of facts that come too easily/ And friends we never see?”

Perhaps, but if so, Waller and band don’t dwell on it. Across the 14 songs on “Live and Never Learn,” I See Hawks in L.A. touch on less heady themes such as smoking weed in a basement while watching the Eddie Murphy movie “Trading Places” on a black-and-white TV; smoking weed after a breakup with someone who then becomes a born-again Christian; taking speed and listening to country music; and a titular “King of the Rosemead Boogie,” who “hocked himself a loogie” that he “spit in the air just like he didn’t care” — and then consumed a cocktail of “two Jacks and one toke, some shatter and some coke” and “a capacity of dope.”

Trouble? Waller, co-founding electric guitarist Paul Lacques and the rhythm section of Paul Marshall (bass) and and Victoria Jacobs (drums) seem to know its contours. Even when Waller tries to convey sunshine, it comes at a price. The final song, “Stop Me,” finds his narrator staring at the sun because it’s so beautiful, unable to look away and begging for help.

He runs a parallel idea on songwriting in the next verse. “Stop me, I’ve been singing on this street for too long/ Trying to find my way to a beautiful song.” As if he’s helpless, the artist seems to rail against a muse that produces regardless of outcome — “staring into the sun/ This used to be fun/ I’m starting to believe/ there’s no prize to be won.”