New and old Hawks listeners will be struck by the chances taken in this latest phase of the Hawks journey – mixing serious country cred (members have played with Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, John Denver, Hazel and Alice, and in every honky-tonk from Mississippi to Malibu) with wild lyricism and surreal story telling. Audra Schroeder of the Austin Chronicle calls the
Hawks: ‘Americana, traversing the landscape of the Golden State like Didion on horseback. It’s a divine fusion of humor and twang that’s definitely high, but not that lonesome.’
I See Hawks In L.A. were founded in 1999 by Minnesotan turned Echo Park dweller Rob Waller and California natives Paul and Anthony Lacques and have been named ‘the city’s premier roots band’ by the Los Angeles Times and ‘trance-inducing, the stories transfixing, the vibe completely Californian’ by alt. country bible No Depression.
Mystery Drug, the band’s 7th release, cuts a wide swath of post-Gram Parsons California country music, with surreal musings on commerce as love (‘My Local Merchants’), desert marriage rituals (‘One Drop Of Human
Blood’), and the vanishing of spirits and aquifers of the American west (‘Sky Island’). Honky tonk and cowpunk grooves, a Celtic musing on death and ancestry, three memorable love ballads, the signature Hawks harmonies, and lots of cosmic acousticism make Mystery Drug a complex and varied voyage, full of wit and surprises.
Balancing this Joycean density are kickass performances by drummer Shawn Nourse (Dwight Yoakam, James Intveld), cosmic pedal steelers Rick Shea (Dave Alvin, Wanda Jackson) and Pete Grant (Grateful Dead, Rodney Crowell,
The Dillards), psychedelic bass from Paul Marshall (Strawberry Alarm Clock, Hank Thompson) and big league harmonies and burning electric and slide guitar from the core Hawks crew.
Hawks records have always mixed traditional bar room musings with tales rooted in geography: mating dances of whales; the life of Senator Byrd from West Virginia; a Humboldt pot grower’s flight to Tibet; boom and bust
in guitarist Lacques’ Mojave Desert homeland; wandering hippie caravans; the imminent collapse of suburban Houston. In 2002 the Hawks were decidedly ahead of the curve in condemning the Bush administration’s drums of war.
Despite this out on a limb perch, I See Hawks In L.A. have been embraced by legends of contemporary country, requested as an opener by Lucinda Williams and Chris Hillman (who plays on ’06’s California Country), hitting the Americana Charts, #2 on XM radio’s alt country, and three #1’s on the Freeform American Roots Chart. They’ve toured the U.S. many times, and are returning to Europe & the UK for the 4th time from May 22-July 8.
Check out the dates of their UK tour:
Weds 19 Dingwall, Scottish Highlands, Square Wheels House
Thurs 20 Glasgow, Woodend Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club
Fri 21 Kinross, Perthshire
Backstage at The Green Hotel
Sat 22 Perth, Solas Festival
Sun 23 Inverness, Eden Court
Tues 25 London, The Slaughtered Lamb
Weds 26 Farnham, Surrey,The Barn (Lazy Bishops Music Night)
Fri 28 Cardiff, Boomswinger Bluegrass Club at The Mackintosh
Sat 29 Bedford, The Ent Shed at The Gordon Arms
Sun 30 Cropredy, Oxfordshire,The Brasenose Arms
Tues 2 Stroud, The Prince Albert
Weds 3 Hempstead, nr. Saffron Walden, The Bluebell Inn
Thurs 4 Southport, The Atkinson
Sat 6 Easton, Suffolk, Maverick Festival 2013 at Easton Farm
Sun 7 Birmingham, The Kitchen Garden Cafe
Mon 8 Brighton, The Greys