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Terrascope Reviews “On Our Way”

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On Our Way is the new album from Californian country rock group I See Hawks In LA, this is their tenth album and for me their best to date. The band consists of Rob Waller on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and synth. Paul Lacques on guitars, lap steel, autoharp, mandolin and jaw harp, Paul Marshall plays bass and Victoria Jacobs plays the drums, with all the band members contributing backing vocal harmonies. They formed at the tail end of the last century and have played many shows with artists like Chris Hillman, Dave Alvin, Lucinda Williams and many more through the years; indeed playing live is where they are at. This new album also sees contributions from ace fiddler Brantley Kearns, Danny McGough, Dave Zirbel and Woody Aplanalp from Old Californio, amongst others.

It kicks off with the mandolin led ‘Might’ve Been Me’, replete with pedal steel by Paul Zirbel which wouldn’t be too out of place on American Beauty/Workingman’s Dead era Grateful Dead, this is followed by the very catchy title track ‘On Our Way’, a very strong opening pair of songs. ’Know Just What To Do’ is slightly more expansive, it starts (and ends) with some mad twisted fiddling from Brantley and some backwards guitar, before unfolding into a gentle song of revelation. This is followed by the short, bluesy ‘Mississippi Gas Station Blues’. Victoria wrote and sings the wistful ‘Kensington Market’, a well placed indie rock song which details the various sights, sounds and people encountered there; it also features some fine organ from Danny.

The short ‘Kentucky Jesus’ is a song ostensibly about an alternative war hero and comes with contributions by Richie Lawrence on accordion. ‘Geronimo’ is a great dusty Native American tale imbued with plenty of telecaster, pedal steel and mandolin breaks; it is pure country rock gold. ‘Stealing’ is another little gem of a song and sees contributions on vocals and guitars from Old Californio’s Woody. ‘If I Move’ is sees the band playing a Byrds like jangly country rock song with oodles of pedal steel. ‘Radio Keeps Me On The Ground (Slight Return)’ maintains the standard, it ebbs and flows with plenty of room for the instruments to shine and deserves to be played on the radio but probably won’t, especially over here on this side of the Atlantic. The album closes out with the expansive, lightly psychedelic ‘How You Gonna Know’, a groovy rootsy rocker, heralding in a new tomorrow.  

(Andrew Young)