Weaver Hawkins “Slow Rider” (Lonesome Shoes Recording 2005)
A member of country bluegrass duo, Hicksville, Hawkins has released a record that sounds as if it was recorded in a mountain cabin, late at night. Essentially a one man album, Hawkins plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, percussion, sings and composed all of the songs. Fellow Hicksvillian Rob Mills adds harmonies on one song. With vocals at times reminiscent of stalwarts like John Prine and Vic Chesnutt, Hawkins has penned a series of affecting vignettes, with some interesting lyrics and a warm laidback acoustic setting. Starting off with harmonica, opening song “Caroline” heads off with guitar and mandolin strumming away reminding me of Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance. This and “I’ll Be On My way” are the jauntiest songs here with the latter having a great refrain in the grand folk tradition. Many of the songs are about relationships and parenthood, some happy and loving, others bitter. Moving from the aching tenderness of “Part of Me” to the anger of “No Kiss Goodnight” Hawkins essentially paints a portrait of love and loss, the melancholic “Saturday Night” and “Tomorrow (She’ll Be Gone)” are particularly effective. The mood is broken however by “Help Us if You Can”, a song about the unwillingness of politicians to address poverty and helplessness. Overall this is a very nice album, best parked in that corner marked folkie singer songwriter.
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