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Strangely familiar, but it’s been a while. The Hawks are rolling north on the 5, passing the big Tejon Ranch sign. Soon we’ll be gazing down on outer Lebec from windows of our Yukon. Paul L wonders if his cousins still live there.

We set a fictitious start time of 9:30 a.m., but of course things happen. Shawn had to go back home for his snare stand. Much standing around and chatting. Coffee and toast at Paul M’s Tujunga lair. But we’re moving now. We’re listening to Charlie Louvin’s new release, and we’re feeling better. Pretty damn nice. We’re at the big 99/5 split, where oddly you veer right in order to wind up left of the 99. One of these days we’re going to return by way of the 99. It’s such a cool and forlorn drive, a land no longer beloved. Belovedness is scarce these days, outside of your immediate tribe. Nearly Beloved?

It’s been a quietly fruitful last few months for the Hawks, laying a bit low, a few gigs here and there in L.A. We’ve cut twelve basic tracks for our new CD, and they’re sounding quite good, Shawn Nourse cutting manful and solid live tracks in his cool Highland Park home studio. If we pull off a summer surge we might have the CD out in the fall.Since we’re kicking off the first tour since last summer, let’s get a sample message from the band.

Rob: May God bless I See Hawks In L.A. with prosperity and peace.Paul M: Don’t use autotune unless you really need to, and then, use it liberally.

Paul L: Life is lightness and darkness. So light, so dark.Shawn: May the gas gods give us hope.

We will return via 99. Oh 99, 99, take me to the city where the lights all shine.It’s anything but unloved. I love it as I drive to the spanking new UC Merced to visit my PJ. 99 is just flying under the radar now. Once the major North/South California highway, the straight straight boring straight eye 5 has supplanted it in prominence and traffic, allowing US99 to become the great bucolic highway that it once was. Anyone for a Basque dinner?