Archive for the 'Canadian' Category

05
Aug
20

Hawksley Workman’s What Would You Say to Me, Lord (Draft Resurrection)

A draft from January of 2014. At this point, life had evolved, musically I was more open. I was invested in an intimate relationship. My girl and I shared a vital musical interest. This six-year-old draft’s topic makes me proud. Hawksley Workman has pushed my wife and me through these surreal, sometimes doldrum-inducing times. But now that I’ve meditated on how his influence impacted my trajectory, I couldn’t stomach most of what I said when this draft began.

Like a great book, the timing of its appearance into your life matters. This often referenced artist means more to me today, and when listening, I see him through an updated lens.

There was a time where a somber, not cranked tune was embarrassing to my ears. The sad truth, it was a concern for what others thought of my listening habits. Who was even going to hear it? Hawksley Workman has proven through various albums, artistic endeavors, and virtual shows, he’s an artist to proudly showcase. No shame in an artist with the wherewithal to create virtuosic unique pop, but it’s his simplicity and heartfelt songwriting that helps him to stand alone amongst my collection.

The song I was sharing back in 2014 was the opposite of what I thought this blog was: hype worthy, adrenaline inducing music meant to jumpstart an evening. A sound appropriate for a place of worship didn’t fit this blog’s agenda. My original writing screamed of someone sharing a weak, shame inducing song; upon the post, I’d have to duck and hide from the inevitable onslaught of criticism.

“What Would You Say to Me, Lord?” blends seamlessly on Between the Beautifuls; a delicately blessed 12 track record full of intricately woven instruments played with light dynamics to let Workman’s expressive and quirky vocals shine.

A fitting closing track where the tempo is scaled back and the feeling it creates is one of uplifting joy. Light piano accompaniment runs throughout; the hushed delivery of the angelic harmonies complement this rapture inducing hymn. Simply, I find this song peaceful. It’s accessible for most, a song I wouldn’t hesitate to place into a playlist if my Mom and I were on a cross-country road trip where when not deep in conversation, the music is the topic at hand.

Hawksley Workman :: What Would You Say to Me, Lord?

17
May
14

Lou Reed’s “Dirty Boulevard” Reinterpreted…

Take a song and make it your own. Simply, put your twist on it; maybe that’s a restructure, a whole new vocal delivery, extending the composition, etc. Leave it up to Ontario’s Hawksley Workman to produce an exemplary model of what a cover can sound/look like. This time, Hawksley is putting his spin on the literary rocker Lou Reed’s “Dirty Boulevard” off the ‘New York’ LP.

 

22
Dec
13

Best of 2013: Mounties

2013 gave us more Hawksley Workman in guitar form. His new band, Mounties, an explosion of hard hitting rhythms, chugging, melodic guitar lines, and hooks a plenty has my interest piqued. And they’ve only formally released two songs –three with their “Merry Christmas Maybe”. Thrash Rock Legacy is what they’re calling their full length debut, and let’s cross our fingers it hits early in 2014. With “If This Dance Catches On” & “Headphones” as evidence, I might already have one of my favorite records for ’14 in ’13. Believe it….

Mounties :: Headphones

Mounties :: If This Dance Catches On

05
Oct
13

Hawksley’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”…

Like I needed further confirmation. The much talked about Hawksley Workman, an Ontarian one man jam composing most all, continues to take me aback. Sometimes his sexed up glam meets fuzzy rock is where I feel he excels; but a stripped down ballad care of feathery keys and his moving, emotionally laced voice makes me weak at the knees. Yea, weak. Believe it.

My buckling knees asked him to stop. Hawksley continues to impress by showcasing his unique rendition of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. A cover originally appearing on the “Anger As Beauty” single as a b-side. Embarrassing as it is, a cover new to me — though it was released a decade ago. I mean, I can’t be up on everything.

All covers should be reinterpreted. Hawksley flips the script and places his cabaret, meets hypnotic sensual groove all over it…

Hawksley Workman :: Love Will Tear Us Apart

18
Jul
13

Mounties’ Dance Did Catch On…

I’m a faithful man. A solo artist continues to churn out formulaic perfection and then starts a new band, I’m in. A favorite artist exploring what he’s capable of when surrounding himself with like-minded folks makes me inevitably curious. Is it a 180 switch? Does that musician bring his formula to the new act and we experience unique nuances care of the other players? Whatever. Hawksley Workman concocts something, my ears demand it.

“If This Dance Catches On”, the 2nd single from Mounties, an act possibly turning into a 2013 Divine Fits, is up for consumption today via iTunes. It’s the “full version’; that means it’s full-fledged captivating Canadian cacophony…

Mounties :: If This Dance Catches On

27
Jun
13

Mounties’ If This Dance Catches On…

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I ordered this backpack for my daily excursions. When it’s available, I also want to order the Mounties record — an inevitably catchy, shake your body rock extravaganza from the triple threat: Hawksley Workman, Steve Bays, and Ryan Dahle. The trio has already entranced us with “Headphones”, a groovy rocker drawing you again and again to the repeat button. With “If This Dance Catches On”, they’re pounding away with a hip swinging rhythm and chugging guitar line as the boys harmonize about one of life’s greatest actions: dancing and strutting your future salmon dance.

11
Feb
13

Hawksley suggests you put on your headphones…

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If I were forming a band, I’d keep it local. Those members would be friends, ones who share my interests and overall love of a sound. They’d be invested in the music, a movement that only so many can understand. My ‘mates would surround themselves in aural pleasures. If the option presented itself, they wouldn’t turn off the soundtrack to their lives. Ever.

Take the Ontarioan Hawksley Workman, a man capable of creating sexed up glam, chamber pop, celestial hymns, or countless other wonders, Steve Bays from British Columbia’s Hot Hot Heat, and Ryan Dahley from Vancouver’s Limblifter to form Mounties. Fittingly, they’re Canadian. ‘Headphones’, with its driving guitar line, perfect pop pleasantries, and anthemic sing along, is the equivalent of a date with your favorite record: one where it’s you, a favorite piece of vinyl, and your headphones to take in the aural experience. Get lost in the sound…

07
Aug
12

Symphonic rock at the Bluebird Theater…

Opening up for an act has its many advantages. Hey Rosetta!, the aforementioned sextet my Canadian virtuoso Hawksley Workman cheerleads for, preceded Bombay Bicycle Club on Monday evening. First, you’re playing to a sold-out crowd who more than likely came for the headliner. Bring everything you can and win over new listeners. Second, time is of the essence. Not necessarily a fault for not having the audience you deserve. With the clock ticking down, the act knows there are no songs to include in the set where people begin chatting about Mars, perusing their mother’s Facebook status, or seeing if anyone has visited their OK Cupid’s profile page in the last 25 minutes. Hey Rosetta! not only packed in a set consisting of “New Goodbye” and “Seeds”, amongst other impactful orchestrated movers, they also showcased what a finely tuned outfit can do with minimal time: Captivate a crowd and leave them wanting just one more.

Lose yourself in the sextet’s eruption of intricately pieced together sound.

Picture perfect photography courtesy of Lisa Higginbotham:

05
Aug
12

Hey Rosetta!

“Today, do you still enjoy going to concerts?”, inquired a friend who’s known me longer than your favorite act has been together. With time my hunger for live music hasn’t diminished. The opposite is the reality. Being in an area where no major cities are within a reasonable distance, acts simply don’t have a reason to roll through. Again, they most certainly do but not with any consistency. When that band, one I play more than others does, I’m psyched and grateful. So, yes, going to a show, one where the act brings the record alive, is something I crave. It best never be something I don’t.

A sweet cacophony has been seeping out of New Foundland for awhile. The recipe consists of a sextet bristling with energy, an explosive aura encapsulates them– the wick is set, it slowly burns, and when ready, or the emotional message behind each number has been conveyed behind light, swaying-like melodies, the song bursts into a vibrant, epic sound. Hey Rosetta!  hold the ability to create mini symphonies amongst their multi-layered sounds drenched in passionate lyricism.

Hey Rosetta! brings this energy to Denver’s Bluebird Theater on Monday. Expectations are set that even if some have outgrown the live experience, I will be there as wide-eyed and anxious as when my club hopping began.

Hey Rosetta! :: Seeds

15
May
12

It’s just one of those things….

My 9 to 5 presents me the opportunity to enlighten 10 and 11 year olds to music beyond Tech N9ne and Nicki Minaj. By no means is this stated on my job description — that writeup looks something like teaching kids how to read, write, compute, and think critically. But the finale is upon me and my classroom of 30 plus characters. And with this little time we have, it’s where I throw most things I should be covering out the door. What it boils down to is keeping a bunch of pre-teens engaged and still interested in what I have to say.

“I’m going to try something totally different today. You all know my strong interest in music. Today I’m sharing two songs with you”

A few ears perked up; overall though, only so many were truly curious. As lyric sheets were provided to the students, I had them peruse the lyrics for the “more chill, relaxed track” and their task was to provide a short prediction on what the artist is trying to say. Interpreting poetry meets the standard, boss. We discussed how many songs are written about past loves, for a current love, or about relationships in general. Next, all they had to do was write a short guess on what the song may sound like. Taking a chance is not a strong point for most.

The listening party’s initial selection was “Don’t Be Crushed” by none other than Hawksley Workman. They were promised a “drastically different and upbeat track” next. “Sunlight” by Bag Raiders, another track previously featured on this blog was the “kinda cool because it was like techno” selection. It’s been a good week plus, or when students weren’t in summer mode, where most everyone was listening, contemplating, and sharing their thoughts. One girl asked, “Can you bring more songs tomorrow?” Well, yes; I might have a few more to share…

Hawksley Workman :: Don’t Be Crushed




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