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American Songwriter Reviews SBG

By Mike Berick on January 26th, 2010
Three Stars. The popular Los Angeles band I See Hawks has released four CDs to critical praise but received little recognition at large; however, this self-described “greatest non-hits” collection should improve on their current cult status.

This expansive 17-song set of album tracks, unreleased material and new tunes showcases I See Hawk’s harmony-rich, sun-baked sound, which evokes the laidback ‘70s SoCal country-rock of Poco, latter-day Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. The road-trippy “Texarkanda” embodies the Burritos’ comic Americana vibe, while they transform David Allen Coe’s “Bossier City,” a new duet with Carla Olson, into a Parsons/Harris ballad.

Behind Rob Waller’s easy-going California twang, Paul Lacques’ nimble guitar picking and a trunk-load of pedal steels, mandolins and fiddles, ISHILA takes listeners on an Americana travelogue, from their home state (“Grapevine,” “Wonder Valley Fight Song” and “Humboldt”) and across America (“Laissez Les Bon Temp Roulet,” “Hope Against Hope,” and “Midnight In Orlando”). The band’s interest in U.S. history and politics, meanwhile, surfaces in selections like “Raised By Hippies” and “Byrd From West Virginia,” an ode to the longtime Virginia senator.

This disc might not uncover “shoulda been gold” tunes but it does hold enough nuggets to make this an excellent primer for a band worthy of more attention.

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