A slight twang rings through the songs off of The Clear Lake by Brother Hawk. The record is full of an emotive weight that swings in the lyrics, beautifully delivered as vocal ensembles to the blues driven rock sound. “Keep your Fingers Crossed” has the band layering their different melodies into a harmonious tune, leading the pianos and guitars to a crashing end. “The Black Dog” has strong riffs that present themselves as motifs with a vivacious sound. A harmonica duels with the guitar in the bridge, winding between the atmospheric keys. Everything that the Atlanta group puts into this record is fluid, transcendent and catchy all at once.
With such an intuitive and engaging sound, the nine track banger is sure to find a way to expand on anyone’s musical palette. The record sees the light of day today, May 11th. New Noise Magazine is pleased to be bringing forth an in depth look into the songs off of The Clear Lake, written by Brother Hawk.
Quittin’ Time – “Quittin Time” is made to be an opener. We’ve been opening sets with it for a few years now, a nice melodic build, each instrument enters one at a time until it peaks into the verse of a driving anthem. The inspiration is from a relationship gone bad that had far too much time put into it after that fact. The chorus is something my grandpa used to say whenever you’d ask him what time it was – “half past the crack of he crystal, fifteen minutes til the whistle”. Who knows what the hell it means, but it’s the perfect way (to me) to describe knowing it’s over and being ready to make it official.
Keep Your Fingers Crossed – This is kind of a new feel for us, very Stones, and stripped down compared to our other songs. I’m not sure what’s even going on in this one cause all i pay attention to is Nick stuntin’ on the piano the whole song. Lyrically it’s about a lover you haven’t met, but knowing you want to go into it with a clear head and none of the hang ups of your past troubles, trying to remember that love is always the most important thing.
Good As Gold – Blackberry Smoke have been great friends and mentors to us in this business, and I know Charlie played pedal steel on their records (and im obsessed with pedal steel),so i was elated when he agreed to play on ours. I got a rough mix of the song from TJ (Elias) and sent it over to Charlie and told him just to see if he was into it and to play whatever he wanted. He sent me a track back a few days later and obviously we were blown away, it was like a whole new song for us. It’s an awesome feeling to have someone you look up to as a person and a player just casually crush the fuck out of something on your record. To me, it’s the best sounding track of the album, he moved in and around what we had already done in a way that suits the song perfectly. Plus i mean really, how cool.
Lyrically it’s a love song about meeting someone you already know somehow, from a dream, maybe Deja Vu if you believe in that. The chorus came straight out of my Dad’s mouth many times, but in a different context haha. “Don’t hang me out” is what he’d say, referring to where he was gonna sit in a restaurant haha. As always he’s my biggest inspiration.
White Oak – This song came about as kind of an intro to “The Clear Lake. “It’s just me and an acoustic guitar in our practice space, and I played just one take. My father was diagnosed with brain cancer early in 2017, and I wrote this song shortly after. It’s about dealing with that, and understanding that it’s my responsibility to carry on the love that was given to me for my whole life.
The Clear Lake – This song came from my mother, I was going to a meeting that was kind of a big decision about the band, and I was worked up and nervous. She grabbed me and said “you got this baby, you’re gonna see exactly what to do. You’re the Clear Lake”. That resonated with me so much, understanding what i needed to be in order to not only make that decision but view any important thing in my life the right way. So in the context of the song the Clear Lake is all the things that get me to that place. Family, loved ones, nature, simple beauty, my favorite music. “You’re just like smoke from the chimney, just like a heron on the breeze. You’re just like the wind through the trees, just like “On the Beach”, just like all them things that comfort me when I’m in need”
The Black Dog – This is probably our favorite song to play live, and definitely the heaviest of the record. Lyrically it’s about what we do, tour around the world playing music, and how that only strengthens our love for who and what we leave behind to go and do that. This is probably the most special song for me that we’ll ever record. It’s my dad’s last performance, as he passed away in our front yard just a few moments after recording his harmonica part for it. It’s his death song and i cant think of anything more beautiful for us to share before he left. He was and always will be my best friend.
West Asheville Sea – Lyrically this is a love song, but it’s actually very dark for me. It’s about a skewed and unrealistic idea of love. This is actually the first new song we wrote for this album, but we’ve just recently started playing it a lot live. Once again Nick just steals the show the whole tune except on the Hammond this time. We’re super lucky to have that dude in our band.
Weight – We’ve been waiting a long time to record and release this one. We’ve been playing it live for several years now, and it’s such a long and deep jam that i was always worried that it wouldn’t translate onto a record, but we’re real proud of how it turned out. We played it every night for 5 weeks in Europe or i don’t think it would’ve gotten tight enough! Nick has an insane Rhodes solo in the middle that leads into him and me trading licks on the guitar and Hammond and all four of us going off.
Force Of Will – This is the last song we finished writing for the record, and I’m very proud of it. It’s about understanding that your dream isn’t just something you think about while you live your life. It’s something you have to wake up every day and give yourself to.It’s constant work but it’s the most rewarding thing you can do. It ends the record with a beautiful piano outro from Nick, and this is my favorite work that both James and Allan did on the record. They were locked the fuck in, and all of the bass and drums on the record are live so you can really feel it. James’ bass lines are my favorite part of this song without a doubt.