Cross-pollination creates new hybrids. In the case of I See Hawks In L.A., meeting up with Liverpool’s The Good Intentions at a house party in the Sierra Madre foothills was an auspicious beginning. Charming English accents captivated the Hawks as much as their traditional melodies. Sharing stages on both sides of the Atlantic led to Paul Lacques and Rob Waller of the Hawks spending time with Peter Davies in Rob’s garage studio. The roots of two collaborations from Hawks With Good Intentions were born that evening. Thanks to today’s digital universe and countless emails and mp3s, an album began taking shape.
This cross-cultural collaboration resulted in something unique. Where the Hawks tend toward a more seat of the pants approach, The Intentions deal in something more controlled and thought out. Together they created something that resides in neither camp, but in a totally new species. The acoustic-ity of these recordings shines through. Songs are thought out to the extreme with lyrical shadings reflecting how words and meanings change as they move from one side of the Atlantic to the other. Musically, things may be a bit more formal than some Hawks work.
Rather than a muted hybrid, this new form breaks ground in unexpected ways. Reminiscing about days spent hitchhiking and depending on the kindness of strangers, Peter Davies takes the lead on ‘Blue Heaven’. While the English may have a tradition of murder ballads, Rob Waller takes the lead on ‘Things Like This’, a more upbeat ballad with a tellingly American refrain, “Things like this don’t happen around here.” Except they do, more and more these days.
Sharing the lead on ‘Rolling The Boxcars‘, Peter and Rob sing about a miner gambling his last paycheck at a Chippewa Casino before ending up in prison. Victoria Jacobs takes the lead on ‘Hills On Fire’ offering a haunting look at how the California wildfires have forever altered the landscape of the region. ‘Will You Watch Over Me From Above’, using just two guitars, asks the ultimate question of now deceased parents.
Though the subject matter may seem downbeat, Hawks with Good Intentions offers something truly unique; a chance to look at the world from perspectives on both sides of the Atlantic. I See Hawks In L.A. and The Good Intentions enable us to see our world from diverse perspectives that teach us how similar we are despite our differences. That’s never been needed more.