From: Rob Ellen [rob.ellen_at_btinternet_dot_com]

Sent: 21 April 2012 20:22

Subject: FW: I See Hawks In L.A. to Ireland/UK late June early July



I See Hawks In L.A. are touring as a rocking Acoustic Trio to mirror and in support of their striped back all acoustic CD "New Kind Of Lonely.

View a video here



looking for UK shows on July 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 16! 

Let me know if your interested rob_at_medicinemusic_dot_co_dot_uk

Southern California's top folk/country band I SEE HAWKS IN L.A.

will be touring UK and Ireland this June/July.  Featuring songs from

their new and acclaimed all acoustic CD "New Kind Of Lonely,"

the Hawks will be doing both semi-electric and acoustic shows, in

folk music and roots music venues and festivals.


Here's a link to hear the CD:


And all reviews, high res photos, band bio can be found at








I See Hawks in L.A.
New Kind of Lonely

Forget the odd moniker; for the last decade or so, I See Hawks in L.A. have led the resurgence of a style of West Coast country rock that redefines the music of the Byrds, Burrito Brothers, Poco and the early Eagles. So what better route to take than to create an all-acoustic LP that brings the music back to basics while revisiting high desert terrain. A single listen to the song ?I Fell in Love with the Grateful Dead? offers all the affirmation necessary, an ode to sunny days, idyllic environs, hippie chicks and the joys of hitting the highway. Likewise, songs like ?Bohemian Highway,? ?Dear Flash,? ?River Run? and ?Highland Park Serenade? emit a campfire-like glow, with acoustic guitars, fiddle, banjo and dobro providing a sepia tinted back porch feel. Those in search of a sound that?s mellow, melodic and as freewheeling as a cluster of tumbleweeds ought to find reason to keep these hawks in their sites. (




SPIN Rating: 7 of 10   by Richard Gehr

Fine country-rock trio's acoustic foray: old age, overdoses, suicide, boho nostalgia.

You might think this trio hailed from a locale such as Amarillo, TX or Nashville, TN. Well, if you thought Bakersfield, CA you'd be close as these three joined forces in an Echo Park  (L.A.) living room over a decade ago.  Apparently longtime fans who cherish the band's acoustic gigs can now rejoice as New Kind of Lonely is an all-acoustic record with 13 slices of genuine Americana straight from the heart. Guitarist Rob Waller handles the lead vocals, but the other two musketeers, guitarist/dobro player Paul Lacques and bassist Paul Marshall harmonize the dickens out of these songs (on this record the band adds a drummer as well as banjo, fiddle and accordion players).
The songs themselves create some magical imagery but heck, just listen to these songs titles:  " I Fell in Love with the Grateful Dead",  "Big Old Hypodermic Needle", "Bohemian Highway", "Hunger Mountain Breakdown" and "Your Love is Going to Kill Me." If you think the band is like an antithesis of 70's AOR drifters America ("Sister Golden Hair") well, you may be right, just trade "Ventura Highway" in for one "Bohemian Highway' and you're all set. Sound fair?
They take their music seriously, but with a real looseness create a warmth (with no lack of humor) that a lot of alt country bands seem to lack.


Top 10 Country Albums, March 2012

8. I See Hawks in L.A.
New Kind of Lonely
Song titles hint at a caosmic American sound, and the opening strains of "Bohemian Highway" confirm just that. I See Hawks in L.A. recorded New Kind of Lonely live in the studio, capturing a compelling, uncluttered sound; there's plenty of breathing room for lush harmonies and dark, yet often humorous, lyrics. Tales of gentrification ("Highland Park Serenade") sit next to wistful stories of the past ("I Fell in Love With the Grateful Dead") and sallow salutes to death ("The Spirit of Death," "Big Old Hypodermic Needle") -- all blooming under the gentle sway of guitars and their symmetrical singing. [L.R.]

I See Hawks in L.A.
By Mikael Wood

Longtime purveyors of what Gram Parsons called "cosmic American music," I See Hawks in L.A. go all-acoustic for their latest, called New Kind of Lonely and due out March 6. It's lovely, beautifully harmonized stuff (with some sweet fiddle action by Gabe Witcher of Punch Brothers), but what distinguishes the record from others by any number of history-conscious roots acts is the Hawks' taste for the less-than-lovely, as reflected in the title track, where Rob Waller recounts the time "Randy went out, got wasted with the boys, chasing skirts and getting hurt"; later, he spins a tale in "Big Old Hypodermic Needle" you don't need me to unravel. Tonight they'll celebrate the album's release amid the appropriately instrument-jammed environs of McCabe's, with former Lone Justice/X dude Tony Gilkyson as support.




I See Duality In the Grooves
By David McGee

I See Hawks In L.
Western Seeds

Graceful, easygoing but meaty, the all-acoustic New Kind of Lonely, album six from the veteran I See Hawks In L.A., evokes the spirit of vintage Southern California folk and country--Gram Parsons, Flying Burrito Brothers--and adds a contemporary bluegrass flair. Now a trio of founding members Rob Waller (lead vocals, guitar) and Paul Lacques (guitar, dobro, vocals) and long-time bassist/vocalist Paul Marshall, ISHILA bolsters its lineup for this outing with the Punch Brothers? Gabe Witcher on fiddle, Cliff Wagner on banjo, Richie Lawrence on accordion and Dave Raven on drums. As you might guess from songs with titles such as ?New Kind of Lonely,? ?Your Love Is Going to Kill Me? and ?If You Lead I Will Follow,? the texture of personal, even intimate, relationships is in sharp focus here?including a relationship with the Grateful Dead in ?I Fell in Love with the Grateful Dead,? almost five minutes of tribute to the way the fellows became enamored of the Dead?s music, message and culture set to a driving arrangement full of cascading guitar lines and fueled by Waller?s sturdy, folky tenor (surely yours truly is not the only listener who hears a touch of young Mike Nesmith in his phrasing and timbre

This being I See Hawks In L.A., you expect the love songs to be cut from different cloth, and so it is. ?Your Love is Going to Kill Me? encompasses much of what the band has been about in having the action unfold in a finely etched natural world among characters striving for a higher plateau while seeing the folly of all this with a wry sense of humor??Thirty pages of Ulysses, that much closer to the day/when one of us is leaving and the other must remain,? begins the song and it continues: ?Well the western sky reminds me of the time you went all fiery/from a moment?s hesitation at our wild and wicked ways/and it wasn?t just your beauty or your cosmic sense of duty or the dolphins in the gables on our fabled wedding day?? The graceful rhythm and sweet harmonies have an evocative western feel (you might even think Sons of the Pioneers at one point) as the pace picks up, surging inexorably to the title sentiment, by which point you don?t know whether to laugh or cry, seeing as how the singer seems pretty okay with the situation at hand??our love is so good it?s exactly that bad,? Waller sings with cool equanimity: love is a battlefield, y?know. More inscrutable and heavily metaphorical?a cousin to Dawes?s ?That Western Skyline,? in fact?the album closing meditation ?If You Lead I Will Follow? might be interpreted as likening a love affair to a journey by wagon train into uncharted territory, where nature itself is both friend and nemesis; Waller strikes a stance as determined as it is weary (and wary, too), as Paul Lacques?s weeping dobro and Richie Lawrence?s mournful accordion function as despairing counterparts to Waller?s voals, but hope rises in the lovely close-harmonized choruses trumpeting the song title?s determined vow.

The band?s dark humor remains intact, and gets an especially memorable workout on two numbers. ?Big Old Hypodermic Needle? seems a cheery, acoustic guitar-driven toe-tapper, but it happens to document two friends? (?two sweet sisters,? as Waller sings) decision to OD together, ?one last time for the memories/and the sunset turning gold,? a tragedy recounted by the fellow who ?found them where they fell.? Moral of the story: ?Comin? home?s easy when you hear the angel bell.? Driven by Cliff Wagner?s hard charging banjo and further fueled by Gabe Witcher?s furious, circuitous fiddle solo, ?Hunger Mountain Breakdown? is not a salute to some beloved peak but a contemplation of a suicidal leap from said peak. The duality permeating New Kind of Lonely keeps a listener on his toes, lest the Hawks? world seem too straightforward; fittingly, the music?s southern Cal country lilt is deceptive?it sure sounds pretty, but dastardly things are going on around it. Bliss out at your own risk.










A New Kind of Lonely

Bohemian Hoedown


Imagine yourself in a small cabin in the mountains north of Santa Cruz, California. There?s a small fire burning in the stone fireplace just warm enough to burn away the Pacific fog creeping through the space underneath the door.  People are gathered in the main room. Some are tuning their instruments, others are twisting up a reefer or two and still others are pouring pints of home brew. Everybody gets settled and the picking begins.

That cabin, that scene, is where the latest disc from the California band I See Hawks In LA takes me.  This CD, titled A New Kind of Lonely, is their fifth release (sixth if you include their ?hits? collection) and, in a departure from their other work, is performed solely with acoustic instruments.  Foregoing their electric guitars and pedal steel, I See Hawks In LA have turned in a solid piece of work that simultaneously enhances and expands their singularly exquisite sound.

Not quite country, not quite rock, I See Hawks In LA create music that might best be described as a twenty- first century manifestation of that high lonesome sound first introduced to the world by Bill Monroe and other bluegrass pioneers.  This CD, given the fact of its entirely acoustic performances, emphasizes that link to the lonely hollers of Southern Appalachia that one hears in songs like ?Blue Moon of Kentucky,? ?Uncle Pen,? or ?I?ll Fly Away.?  The difference lies in the song?s topics.  Instead of Kentucky, Jesus, or moonshine, New Kind of Lonely includes songs about Austin, the Grateful Dead, and weed.  Unlike previous releases, the songs here tend toward more personal situations; personal situations that represent a life outside the mainstream.  After opening with a song titled ?Bohemian Highway? the listener travels this highway while entertained with tales from the outlands of California?s bohemia.  It is a bohemia birthed in the hippie/freak culture of the 1960s and 1970s and still celebrated in song, literature and some folks? daily lives.  Like the best fiction emerging from this metaphysical realm (Vineland by Pynchon, Already Dead: A California Gothic by Denis Johnson), there are also warnings of the dangers one might find in a culture that accepts drug use and drifting as aspects of its essence.

Certain vocalists are instantly recognizable.  One of those singers is the aforementioned Bill Monroe.  Others include Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Mahalia Jackson, Bonnie Raitt and Leonard Cohen, to name just a few. The vocals of I See Hawks In LA?s Rob Waller fall into this category.  The smoothness of his delivery (unlike Dylan or Young, whose singing is anything but smooth) does not muffle its sweetness or singularity. There are songs of joy and songs of warning.  Songs about wandering and songs about getting hitched.

The key to I See Hawks? is their playing.  This acoustic masterpiece features plenty of incredibly adept, pleasing even achingly beautiful guitar playing.  There are not enough superlatives to describe it.  Indeed, it could stand on its own if the vocals did not exist.  When one adds the fiddle playing of Gabe Witcher (Punch Brothers), the sound becomes sublime.   In the past, I have tried to summon musicians that I See Hawks In LA reminds me of.  While not an easy task because of their genuinely unique sound, Gram Parsons, New Riders of the Purple Sage and The Byrds have come into mind.  This release has reminded me of another.  Back in the 1970s there was a group that hailed from Kentucky and Arizona called Goose Creek Symphony (they returned in the 1990s and still perform).  Their sound was a combination of rock music, clogging, horns, fiddle music and just plain awesome picking.  Every once in a while their music became something as celebratory as a group of old timers celebrating their latest batch of likker.  You feel so good; you just have to kick up something.

Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way the Wind Blew: a History of the Weather Underground and Short Order Frame Up. Jacobs? essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch?s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His collection of essays and other musings titled Tripping Through the American Night is now available and his new novel is The Co-Conspirator?s Tale. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press.  He can be reached at: ronj1955_at_gmail_dot_com.




Art Menius
Roots Music, Culture, and Social Change
Posted on March 22, 2012

I See Hawks in LA New Kind of Lonely (Western Seeds Records)
Review by Art Menius for http://

An old joke defines a gentleman as someone who knows how to play bluegrass music, but chooses not to do so. I See Hawks in LA offers a west coast style of acoustic music that draws deeply on bluegrass without ever becoming bluegrass except for ?Hunger Mountain Breakdown Those who remember Kate Wolf will know that of which I speak and will likely love I See Hawks in LA.

Their sixth CD in a 13-year career, A New Kind of Lonely, features entirely original songs, lovely musicianship, and an open, welcoming vibe. ?I Fell in Love With the Grateful Dead? captures much of the spirit of the album and the band. While that is a straight up love song to a special scene, I See Hawks in LA possesses a true facility for contrasting the music and lyrics. .? The ?breakdown? in the title of ?Hunger Mountain Breakdown? turns out to be a double entendre, for example, since the protagonist is pondering jumping off a cliff. ?I know that if I am up here on this mountain, my problems will soon end.? ?Big Old Hypodermic Needle? is an upbeat country song about overdosing on heroin.

They also have a literary inclination, which certainly distinguishes their songwriting from bluegrass compositions. ?Dear Flash? is inspired by Gurney Norman?s novel Divine Rights Trip, the novel that appeared in the Last Whole Earth Catalog. As we know, Gurney hung out with the Grateful Dead when they were still called the Warlocks. ?Mary Austin Sky,? on the other hand, draws inspiration from the painter Mary-Austin Klein with the wondrous opening line ?even mundane objects are beautiful.?

The trio of Rob Waller (lead vocals, guitar), Paul Lacques (guitar, Dobro), and Paul Marshall (electric and upright bass) comprises I See Hawks in LA. Waller and Lacques serve as the primary songwriters. A number of guest musicians, including the fantastic southern California fiddler Gabe Witcher, help out.

By now you may have noticed a lot of references to the 1970s. It is hard to listen to this most enjoyable album without feeling the 70s groove. It is not unfair to file A New Kind of Lonely under granola music for the earl
21st century. Whether you are nostalgic or just enjoy top notch songwriting, social commentary, and acoustic guitar picking, you will appreciate A New Kind of Lonely by I See Hawks in LA.





I See Hawks in LA won?t be holding a proper release party for ?New Kind of Lonely? until its Feb. 24 show at McCabe?s in Santa Monica. But local fans can get a preview of the new tunes this Friday when the Hawks return to the Coffee Gallery Backstage.
Cut live in the studio around three microphones, ?New Kind of Lonely? is an acoustic project that highlights one of the trademark elements of the Hawks? sound: the tightly woven harmonies between frontman Rob Waller, dobroist Paul Lacques and bassist Paul Marshall. As a band, they?ve long since proved they can rock the house, particularly during more anthemic numbers like ?Humboldt,? a staple of their club sets. But their acoustic shows have generally fostered an intimacy that audiences have also relished, and those fans are likely to respond warmly to the new recording. The open space in the acoustic settings directs more attention to the richly poetic, thoughtful lyrics, which balance humor with a pervasive sense of mortality and loss. 
?Bohemian Highway? opens the album on a rather contemplative note, gratefully recalling old friends and roads traveled together while suggesting they?ve all disappeared. The loving ?Big Old Hypodermic Needle? bids farewell to two friends who succumbed to overwhelming demons. One of the most affecting tracks is the bittersweet ?The Spirit of Death,? which contemplates time?s inexorable march and mourns late fiddler and singer-songwriter Amy Farris before giving way to a spirited fiddle solo by Gabe Witcher.
?When I was a younger man, the good times eased the way
But now the stars are falling every other day
The dreams of childhood are returning to say
Your dance is coming, better pick a tune and play??

Elsewhere, ?Highland Park Serenade? wistfully name checks Figueroa, Mr. T?s Bowl and other local sites while assessing changes wrought by gentrification and time. ?I Fell in Love With the Grateful Dead? looks back to youthful discoveries with a laugh over sparkling guitar leads. The album wraps with the lovely ?If You Lead I Will Follow,? a fittingly melancholy close to an album that holds up loved ones and cherished ways, even if they?ve gone out of fashion. In a culture that?s ever more fragmented, the Hawks continue to show unsentimental respect for what they believe holds lasting value: land (not real estate) and the environment, music (not the music industry) and bonds of community forged through mutual care.






I See Hawks In L.A.
New Kind of Lonely
By Gerry Gomez, Staff Writer 

Los Angeles? reigning kings of Cosmic American Canyon Country Rock must be easing into a comfy chair atop a shag carpet right about now, enjoying a smoke and a toke as they celebrate their sixth release,New Kind of Lonely. Continuing the tradition of mellow, Folky-Psychedelia, paired with warm vocal harmonies, the group brings rich, illustrative, socially poignant lyrics to life again with a sound only they can produce.

Long at the top of hill of the local batch of folk infused country rock bands that re-sparked in the canyons over a decade ago, I See Hawks in LA prove with New Kind of Lonely, why they are so beloved and also why lyrically, they stand for something larger than themselves. Musically, there?s no denying that the Hawks have honed a tight bond over their twelve years as musicians and brothers in arms forming one of the most consistent and cohesive outfits in the local genre.

The songs on this release are mature folk tunes, sprinkled with bits of bluegrass and plenty of acoustic space thrown. Featuring plenty of upright bass, dobro and even some smoking fiddle,  the Hawks deliver an acoustic based album that borrows the same homeyness found in some of their previous work.

Kicking off this album of completely new tunes (the first since 2008′s Hallowed Ground) with a frolicking country ramble down the ?Bohemian Highway,? I See Hawks settle into the familiar with some decidedly featured acoustic arrangements. With a late 60′s, Laurel Canyon vibe, the band falls into comfortable territory, carrying on the convention of Joni Mitchell, Buffalo Springfield, The Bryds, Flying Burrito Brother, Chris Hillman and Graham Nash, that put LA on the roots rock map and gave the city its signature sound.

Taking center stage on New Kind of Lonely are well-crafted lyrics which share the spotlight with intricate, acoustic instrumentation made up of Waller?s rhythm guitar, Paul Marshall?s loping bass lines, along with the talented fingers of Paul Lacques, who brings some tasty finger picking that sounds like a ride through the Central Coast, soaring high on that stuff Bohemians are so fond of smoking.

No better example is there than the standout, ?I Fell in Love with the Grateful Dead,? a fond reflection back to the days of courting the forefathers of San Francisco Country-Psych. The song recalls the hippie melodies floating through main character?s head as he and his sister first snuck out to see the Dead at the Hollywood Palladium. The song, also co-penned with Anthony Lacques, paints a picture of a crowd of groupies that caravans with the band, and the sights and sounds that were intoxicating for the young man at the center of the story. Midway through the tale, the Hawks break into a Seals & Crofts sounding bridge as Waller sings about the backstage scene to then get to the point of the song: it?s time to band together and embrace the hippie love message. It is love that the world could sure use more of.

At first blush, it?s easy to swallow the song as an ode to a favorite time gone by. But, the Hawks have an ability to employ the lure of the band?s laid-backness to get their point across.  In the folk tradition, the Hawks use music to state a point or nurture a young person?s mind through listening to the message in the music. In an inviting way, I See Hawks in LA ask listeners to join in the caravan, both literally and figuratively on ?I Fell In Love with the Grateful Dead.?  But soon enough, they get down into social politics of what the Dead denizens are advocating. Waller does sing their case eloquently and entertainingly and it?s a layered tale of a time that formed the Hawk?s worldview.

Shedding the pen of the enlightened, ?Spirit of Death,? is an emotional tribute song to friend and kindred soul, local musician Amy Farris. Farris died last year and left a hole felt by the LA roots community. She was a violin virtuoso and fragile soul who lent her talents to many artists locally, each time rubbing off her special beauty on their projects. The song employs fellow fiddler Gabe Witcher to lay down a solo to carry her spirit to the great beyond. He does so respectfully and more than capably.

Thirteen tracks populate New Kind of Lonely, all gems from a very talented group. I See Hawks in LA are a treasure to Los Angeles and all of California, if only as troubadours who further the country folk rock continuum. But that?s hardly the whole story.  I See Hawks  have lessons to teach. And the lessons need fall on ears that can embrace them. In a rare and unique way, the Hawks bring great musicianship, great songwriting and a great message to the universe. In times of serious depletion of love, the band hold their place as an integral part of the Sin City scene.

Fans can see Hawks in L.A., as the band are playing  McCabe?s on Friday night, Feb. 24. They are celebrating their release with TJ favorites, Old Californio. Go and spread the love.










I See Hawks In L.A. ? New Kind Of Lonely

by Shawn Underwood in AcousticAlt-CountryAmericanaFolkReviews

Driving east out of Bakersfield you see it long before you get there, the heat shimmer distorting lines and colors, and yet somehow it kind of sneaks up on you.  One minute you?re in civilization, the next?nowhere.  California?s high desert has inspired musicians from Gram Parsons and the Eagles to Ted Nugent and Queens of the Stone Age.  I suppose it?s the way you feel so achingly cold and alone in the middle of a 100 degree sunny day.  Or maybe it?s the carefree feeling you somehow experience in the middle of a freezing cold, moonless night when half the creatures you may run across can kill you.  Emotions and circumstances between Mojave and Barstow carry no relation to each other and reality blurs.  That?s the conflict I See Hawks In L.A. has managed to capture in their latest release, New Kind Of Lonely.

 The flag-bearer for that conflict is The Spirit of Death, a tribute to too-soon-gone fiddle goddess Amy Farris.  It speaks to the only thing inevitable beside taxes, and then finishes with a tap-your-foot, happy-go-lucky fiddle part by guest Gabe Witcher.  This was definitely one of my favorite tunes on the album.  In the same vein is Your Love Is Going To Kill Me, exploring the joy of marriage yet realizing the stress it adds can be, well, life-shortening.

Lest you think this is just music to slit your wrists by, the Hawks keep the dark lyrics fully in check with an intricate layering of guitars and harmonies that just listening to on the surface brings back many of the light-hearted sounds that attracted the world to the California country rock of the 70′s.  There?s also a touch a Norteno in Highland Park Serenade, and jam band syncopation in my favorite tune, I Fell In Love With the Grateful Dead.  Like some of the place and time stories of previous albums (Humboldt and Slash From Guns ?n? Roses come to mind), the Hawks blend personal experience and an eye for the soul of the tale that should leave a lot of Deadheads nodding in appreciation.  And Hunger Mountain Breakdown is a bluegrass anthem anyone from the hills of Kentucky would be proud of.

The Hawks sometimes say they live in the margins of the music business.  I?d counter that the notes in the margins say as much about a book as anything.  And I See Hawks In L.A. fills those white spaces admirably.

I See Hawks In L.A. may be an odd name for a band, but it is one of the best alternative country bands, in concert and on stage, working today. The name actually comes from a diffident gesture: "If you see hawks, then maybe we should talk."

The band was formed in 1999 by Bob Waller, plus Paul and Anthony Lacques. When this album was recorded, the core members consisted of guitarist/lead vocalist Waller, guitarist/dobro player Paul Lacques, and bassist Paul Marshall. They are supported by fiddle player Gabe Witcher, banjo player Cliff Wagner, drummer Dave Raven, and accordion player Richie Lawrence.

The group has released five albums of what can be best defined as psychedelic/electric alternative country music. The guitars were the prominent instrument, with a thumping rhythm section in support.

Their sixth album, A New Kind Of Lonely, travels in a very different direction. The band's acoustic sets have always been well-received, so now it has recorded just about an all-acoustic album, with only a dash of electric bass. The acoustic guitar sound of Waller and Lacques is now more subtle, as the fiddles, banjos, stand-up bass, and accordion take the overall sound in a more traditional country direction. What remains intact are their incisive lyrics, which deal with the environment, death, loss, and scathing social commentary. Also still present are the exquisite three-part harmonies which add a shimmering glow to their sound.

Many times their music belies their lyrics, and visa versa. ?Big Old Hypodermic Needle? tells the story of two friends overdosing on drugs hidden in upbeat music that is fit for the dance hall. Some bluegrass banjo and fiddling drive ?Hunger Mountain Breakdown,? with lyrics about suicide.
The group travels south to the American Delta region for a Cajun work-out on the rocking ?The Spirit Of Death,? and ?I Fell In Love With The Grateful Dead? was their tribute to the Dead with this jam-like track.

I See Hawks In L.A. has proven that it has been one of the better alternative country bands in the business during the past decade. New Kind Of Lonely further proves that the band is not afraid to take chances and strike out on different musical pathways. It has issued a well-recorded album of harmonic textures and haunting themes that is well worth a listen.







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Live Music: I See Hawks in L.A. at McCabe?s

By Mike Finkelstein

On Friday night at McCabe?s, I See Hawks in L.A. played a release show for their new album New Kind of Lonely. Joining them on the bill were their like-minded compadres, Old Californio.  Both bands write and play songs about the beauty, past and present, of living in California.  While both are exceptional electric country rock bands, Friday night was a stripped down acoustic format.  With its walls of guitars and its performer-friendly sound system, McCabe?s was a fine choice in which to go unplugged.  Onstage, the joining link between the two bands was Paul Lacques, a founding member of the Hawks, and a true MVP who also sat in for the entire Old Californio set on dobro.

What?s in a name, anyway?  Consider I See Hawks in L.A.  Not that long ago, but certainly a world of change earlier, the L.A. basin was rural farmlands, orchards, creeks, groves and mountains with little or no development. It was a great place to live as a soaring, predaceous bird.  Though the landscape has certainly changed, there are still hawks in L.A.  We don?t often catch a glimpse of them but when we do see one above the freeway or a business park, it?s a keeper moment of the day.  An intrepid hawk reassures us that the bigger picture is still intact; it is a fleeting link to an impressive past.   This sentiment surely powers ISHILA?s songwriting.

I See Hawks in L.A.

One of the first things one hears with the Hawks is that they sing together seamlessly.  Lacques? and Rob Waller?s voices mesh tightly and Paul Marshall covers the top end to assemble a sweet, accent-free three part harmony.  Waller?s lead vocals sound very familiar, evoking a host of different midrange singers but, happily, he always sounds like the singer of the Hawks.

For New Kind of Lonely the Hawks decided to go very close to all acoustic, and for this show the lineup was Lacques on lead guitar, vocals, and dobro, Waller on lead vocals and guitar, and Marshall on upright bass and vocals.  The percussion for the bulk of this set came from their picks, fingers and strings. Interestingly, neither guitar was plugged in, just miked, old school.

The sound on Friday was crystal clear ? enough room for the guitars to intertwine while sounding distinct, and nice separation on the bass.  Lacques had all kinds of room to embellish and he was on his game, approaching his fills from many tasteful angles.  Mostly he played flat-picked bluegrass runs, but he also ornately colored his tone with two note chordal runs and timely flourishes.  He didn?t show off with speed or any of the usual guitar trickery ? that is just not his approach, though when he needs to be he is very quick.  His style was all about using what works best to bring a song vividly to life.

New Kind of Lonely is loaded with strong material, so the night was filled with rich moments.  While they do juxtapose urban images with their considerable appreciation for mountains, sky, and the sacredness of the desert in songs like ?Mary Austin Sky? they also go further.  ?The Spirit of Death? was a beautiful song inspired by and dedicated to local fiddle sensation Amy Farris, whose death hit the group hard. ?I Fell in Love With The Grateful Dead,? was a light-hearted, descriptive set of recollections, but it was also an interesting piece of music to listen to.  Towards the end of the song the Hawks turned on a dime, much like the Dead might have, headed into a jazzy segue for a tasty several moments, then back to the original feel.

The Hawks served up another nice contrast when ?Highland Park Serenade? transcended from a fondly wistful, yet resigned present tense description of HP to a marvelous Spanish chorus and instrumental section where you can nearly smell the carne asada cooking as the sun sets.  On Friday, Richie Lawrence was on hand (from the deepwater port of Stockton, no less!) to further color the song with his accordion.  Lacques? sounded nothing short of beautiful over the swirl.

About half way through the set the Hawks brought out their charismatic buddy Cliff Wagner, in blue denim overalls, with tats on his forearms, and looking like he might have walked in out of the West Virginia night.  He tore it up on the most hillbilly leaning song of the night, ?Hunger Mountain Breakdown.? It seemed altogether fitting that he played a banjo with fish inlays down its fret board.  No doubt about it, the interplay between Wagner?s banjo and Lacques? dobro satisfied mightily.  And it was fun to watch Lacques dip the slide into a finger picked chord to spin it along.

These are tough times for a talented band struggling to be heard.   The internet is an easy place to be heard or downloaded, but it?s very hard to get paid for your music there.  In order to finance New Kind Of Lonely the Hawks reached out to their loyal fan base much like public radio does.   They offered a creative series of premiums ranging from a day at the shooting range to lessons in composting and terracing techniques with the different band members?and it all worked out.   You just have to root for a band with this much talent and adaptive skill to beat the odds and reap some success.

Old Californio went with two acoustic guitars (Rich Dembowski and Woody Aplanap), piano (Levi Nunez), electric bass (Jason Chesney), dobro (Lacques) and an improvised drum kit (Justin Smith on a snare and a suitcase!). Their set was only about a sweet half hour long, but it left us wanting more.  It just goes to show that if you have strong tunes they will shine in any format.  A good batch of songs is just that!


On Apr 16, 2012, at 1:36 PM, Rob Ellen wrote:

Just somethignthat says what the shows like for the promoters IE
Is this a band or acoustic small combo show.? Whats the line up etc etc


Peace, Health & Happiness
Event Management/Publicist/Tour Organiser/Music Marketing/Radio Dee
Jay/Music Fan
Belladrum Festival
Belladrum Festival Tartan Heart Fringe & Potting Shed Stage
The Medicine Show (Broadcasting Health & Happiness to the North Of Scotland)
Loch Broom FM, Nevis Radio,, and
The House Concert European Hub and Flyinshoes Review.
Medicine Show
& The Medicine Show You Tube Channel
Please visit Medicine Music _at_ Reverb Nation to view our Artists Roster and
Promotional Services.
For information on Promotion, and Publicity. (Click the "About" tab)
Please consider adding to our street team and friends network, together we
can make a difference for the independently minded musician.
Phone: 44 (0)1349 864432
Phone: 44 (0)5602 620901
Mobil: 44 (0)7833392008

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Lacques [mailto:lacques_at_sonic_dot_net]
Sent: 16 April 2012 21:33
To: Rob Ellen
Subject: Re: I See Hawks In L.A. to Ireland/UK late June early July

Hey, Rob, cool, thanks!

What is a gig flier?  Is it a poster?
We don't have anything like that yet.


On Apr 13, 2012, at 7:41 AM, Rob Ellen wrote:




Hmm Interesting. Its hard that time of year most of the Festivals  

are booked

out and the clubs close down for Summer because of the festivals.  

Send me

your gig flier and I'll post it around the promoters and festivals  

see if we

can't scare something up for you.



Peace, Health & Happiness

Event Management/Publicist/Tour Organiser/Music Marketing/Radio Dee

Jay/Music Fan


Belladrum Festival


Belladrum Festival Tartan Heart Fringe & Potting Shed Stage


The Medicine Show (Broadcasting Health & Happiness to the North Of  


Loch Broom FM, Nevis Radio,, and


The House Concert European Hub and Flyinshoes Review.


Medicine Show


& The Medicine Show You Tube Channel


Please visit Medicine Music _at_ Reverb Nation to view our Artists  

Roster and

Promotional Services.

For information on Promotion, and Publicity. (Click the "About" tab)

Please consider adding to our street team and friends network,  

together we

can make a difference for the independently minded musician.

Phone: 44 (0)1349 864432

Phone: 44 (0)5602 620901

Mobil: 44 (0)7833392008




-----Original Message-----

From: Paul Lacques [mailto:lacques_at_sonic_dot_net]

Sent: 12 April 2012 22:45

To: Rob Ellen Ellen

Subject: I See Hawks In L.A. to Ireland/UK late June early July


Hey, Rob:


I See Hawks In L.A. will be doing shows in Northern Ireland/Ireland,

confirmed dates are July 1, 2, 3, 4.


We're looking to fill shows in Ireland and UK on either side of those

dates, roughly June 26 through July 15, if you can plug us into



Thanks, hope all is good,