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I See Hawks in LA

 

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With the February 2012 release of “New Kind Of Lonely,” their sixth CD, I See Hawks In L.A. wade deeper into the river of the Southern California folk and country rock tradition. The early Hawks albums tweaked the genre. Their later releases seem to redefine it.

Known for their psychedelic electric layering over country and folk music forms, the Hawks have gone back to basics on “New Kind of Lonely,” cutting 13 songs on acoustic guitars and upright and electric bass, standing in a circle around some nice German microphones. Overdubs of the trademark Hawks vocal harmonies, some dobro, and Gabe Witcher’s stellar fiddle complete the sparse, haunting sound.

The Hawks have been known for their lyrical celebrations of earth and its imperiled ecosphere, odes to the endless highway, and withering social commentary, but on this CD death and loss, in very personal terms, weave into almost every song, even the hard charging barn dance numbers.

In reaching back to pre-electric traditions, the Hawks seem to have tapped into the mortality that looms in the work of Hank Williams, The Stanley Brothers, and the Carter Family, far from the feel-good suburbiana of today’s Nashville songwriting. Dark times do need some kind of acknowledgement. I See Hawks In L.A. have taken this on.

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