Greg Hawks- Coming Home   Leave a comment


And a final review for this weekend. This one was originally published in one of the final online-only editions of Bluegrass Now in July, 2008.

Greg Hawks

Coming Home

www.greghawksmusic.com

Master of a rich baritone, Greg Hawks comes to bluegrass after wandering a variety of country roads. With the unheralded Coming Home, adventurous listeners are in for a treat.

Familiar to some from his root-rock debut Fool’s Paradise six years ago, Hawks has dispensed with Springsteen-flavored Americana in favor of more rustic sounds. Comprised of a dozen originals and a pair of public domain numbers, Coming Home has all the earmarks of becoming a bluegrass favorite.

On “Just Because You Can (That Don’t Mean You Should)” Hawks reveals a little John Anderson in his voice; elsewhere he reminds listeners a bit of Josh Turner and Randy Travis. These vocal references may hint otherwise, but Hawks’ album is most definitely bluegrass.

Hailing from Mount Airy, NC, Hawks returns to his roots by creating an album inspired by classic mountain sounds, recognition of faith, and devotion to family.

A multi-instrumentalist, Hawks plays guitar, bass, banjo, and mandolin. Several songs feature his multi-tracked talents, while elsewhere Hawks is joined by capable local talents including fiddler Steve Fraleigh. Rick Lafleur provides some drop-dead gorgeous banjo work throughout including on “Sacred Vow,” “I Belong to You,” and “Some Things Are Better Left Alone.”

Ancillary to this, Daniel Aldridge lays down some mandolin on the lead track “What’s Your Hurry,” and Emily Franz provides fiddle and backing vocals in spots.

Throughout the recording, one gets the sense that most of these songs- had they been written fifty years ago- would have sounded natural coming from the likes of Carter Stanley, the Louvin Brothers, or Jimmy Martin.

Beyond displaying impressive vocal talents, Hawks reveals himself to be an astute songwriter. On the title track, Hawks writes, “Well, I’ve seen a lot of places and I know a lot of faces/ In this country that I’m proud to call my home./ So much more I’d like to see if the opportunity/ comes my way before my time on earth is gone.” It is a classic sentiment delivered expertly by a fresh modern voice. It is only one of several such instances spread over Hawks’ award-worthy compositions.

An exceptional, multi-faceted release, Coming Home will be most appreciated by those listeners who like country in their ’grass; this one is destined to become an album that is recommended from friend to friend.

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