A team-up album that brings together the Los Angeles quartet and Liverpool folk duo Peter Davies and Gabrielle Monk, who, after several years of shared friendship and stages have finally written and recorded together, albeit largely via the internet. The result is Hawks With Good Intentions.
It opens with Davies on lead on the acoustic easy rolling partnership nod ‘Blue Heaven’ before Rob Waller steps up to bring his distinctive throaty twang to on the run murder ballad killer ‘Things Like This’, the only number on the album to feature drums. The pair then get together to duet on the simply strummed waltz-time gambling, losing and winding up behind bars ‘Rolling The Boxcars’.
Davis takes over for ‘Rambling Girl’, a folksy track that features Gabe Witcher from The Punch Brothers on fiddle, keeping the travelling imagery going with Waller on lead for the chugging wheels rhythms of ‘Steel Rails’ with its echoes of Steve Goodman.
Victoria Jacobs from The Hawks takes her sole lead vocal on ‘Hills On Fire’, written with Paul Lacques and featuring Richie Lawrence on accordion for a simple strum and harmonised song about the California wildfires sparked by climate change. Other than having the Liverpudlians provide harmonies, I’m not sure why they decided to revisit ‘White Cross’, a country blues number from The Hawks’ 2018 album Live and Never Learn, but it works well in this largely acoustic setting so who’s complaining.
Monk on harmonies, Davies sings lead on both the resigned but optimistic down on your luck (“When I left my home/I was just seventeen/Now I’m cashing in bottles/On a Frogtown street”) swayalong ‘Flying Now’, again with Lawrence on accordion, and ‘Epiphany On Town Hall Square’, a Christmassy-tinged, nativity referencing number about hope for a better future.They end with a real tearjerker, ‘Will You Watch Over Me’, the only number penned by the Hawks writing team of Lacques and Waller, a rippling acoustic guitar backdropping an American folk hymnal prayer to those who have gone before to remain a guardian angel.
A double whammy that will not only please fans of both acts but expand each other’s audience too. A win-win combination all the way round.