Country Music As If It Inhabits the Very Marrow in Their Bones
The Hawks are one of those true rarities of a band; really gifted songwriting, great harmonies, especially tight arrangements and they play Country Music as if it inhabits the very marrow in their bones.
They’re also chock full of that special blend of facile honesty and smart naivety that you can only get with truly great Rock ‘n’ Roll outfits.
Their folk songs aren’t overburdened with worries about keeping the faith, or playing it up old-school, just keeping it damn real.
The photo of the band on the cover is of an unassuming group of individuals: humble, thoughtful, unassuming, probably best of friends—dare I say: ‘real’.
Are they Country, Folk, or Rock?
Weird, cryptic, or truly out there?
What they are is fearless, honest, and reaching, and that, dear reader, is plenty enough to be pleased about nowadays. Take the song “Mississippi Gas Station Blues” which is kind of like a psychedelic Doors/John Lee Hooker/X mashup with a touch of Tom Waits thrown in for good measure.
This is dark Blues with Faulkner’s ghost making an appearance.
Or “Kentucky Jesus” which makes you sit up and take note once the song’s main character reveals himself. Larger than life heroes deserve larger than life songs, and this one delivers.
Or the final song “How You Gonna Know?” which is a dark bass and drum groove with stabbing tremolo guitars and percussion weirdness with offset vocals.
What’s it about?
I have no idea and would most likely be wrong if I tried, but it Rocks.
This is true trippy music, succeeding mostly because it doesn’t try too hard, simply makes its case and leaves you in another state of mindfulness. If it hits you a day or two later, then it did its job.
These songs are the anchors with which they set sail with, ready to throw overboard when the time is just right, when the listener has been comfortably sated with syrupy harmonies and a Country two-step.
“Pay attention now!” they seem to be saying, “Opening your ears is akin to opening your mind,” and they hit you with another great song that comes from somewhere you’d never expect.
“Geronimo” is an imagining of the self-same Native Americans’ thoughts about what to do with an invading army that won’t go away.
“Know Just What To Do” is psychedelic folk with dreamy harmonies, and the Hawks spin us gleefully around with the swinging sixties pastiche “Kensington Market,” written and sung by drummer Victoria Jacobs, and hit us again with “Radio Keeps Me On the Ground (Slight Return)” which is ear-worm, radio-friendly, understated Country Pop that the world needs more of; and it’s a great starting point.
That all of these songs were written and recorded during the 2020 Pandemic is quite the achievement. That the Hawks recorded these songs by themselves on their personal computers through trial and error while the world at large was quarantined is gold medal worthy.
Buy this album!
Well worth it.
After ten albums, I See Hawks in L.A. are truly on their way.
Review courtesy Great Grandpa, Roy Peak esq.