FEATURED ARTIST *Dave Hawley* Gift Horse ALBUM REVIEW + INTERVIEW


 

FEATURED ARTIST

Dave Hawley

Germantown, MD, United States



 

BACKGROUND

 

Dave Hawley, a multi-instrumentalist recording artist based in Maryland, U.S. Dave Hawley records, writes and performs with his wife, singer/songwriter Jen Hawley (Spend Your Heart, Thing On TheseThings), and GloomyGirl. He produced and performed on artist Jill Koshiol's two projects (The Ebb & Flow; Solve For If) He has recorded & performed with award-winning songwriter, Michelle Lockey http://michellelockey.com/index.html . His first single, "Four and One Half" was released in 2019. EP releases include "Love & Lament" (2020), "Part III (2020), "InterBe" (2021), "Parallax" (2021). His latest creation is a 10-track instrumental project entitled "Gift Horse." "Gift Horse," a guitar-centric album featuring short tracks inspired by horses that has been released on the same day as the U.S. 2022 Kentucky Derby Horse Race- May 7, 2022. The project features guitars, bass, ukulele, banjo, piano, synthesizers, harmonica, drums & percussion. All songs written, performed & produced by Dave Hawley @ Startsong Studios, Germantown, MD, USA. The album features guitars, bass, ukulele, banjo, piano, synthesizers, harmonica, drums & percussion. Written, performed & produced by Dave Hawley at Startsong Studios, Germantown, MD, USA (January-March 2022). I was so intrigued by the nature of this project I HAD to have a listen!

 

REVIEW

 

This project opens with the track 'Leg Yield (part 1). I'm not really sure what preconceptions I had about this project but I'm definitely intrigued. This track opens with highly electronic trance instrumentalisation. Track 2 entitled 'Jodhpurs' continued to intrigue me. Slick guitar playing brings a soulful feel to the track almost taking it into an RnB realm. The use of synths give the track something to ponder. As the bass comes in we really get something to vibe to. I'm not sure where horses fit into the album just yet but I know that this artist does! Track 3 'Starting From Scratch' opens with a classic horse track sample horn. Ok I'm with you now! A real funky track with a groovey sound that ends with horse trots. 'Gift Horse' is a spectacular track! Arabian sounding strings combined with a heavy metal sound AND horses neighing. I like the reference to Arabian culture afterall, Arabian horses are the most sought after for racing! This album is really really cool. There's a real unidentified genius here. 'Burrito' transforms us away from Arabia and into the Wild West - I feel like I'm going through Disney Land right now. I've just left Adventureland past Jafar and I'm now entering Frontierland. Track 4 entitled 'Gymkhana' opens with dreamy synths and is accompanied by the rawness and beauty found in electric guitar. This has a real country feel to it which instantly gives us imagery packed with horses and open roads. 'Pegasus' - The clue is in the name with this one. For those of you who aren't familiar, in short Pegasus is a Greek mythological horse that has wings. This track continues the dreamy feel that was found in the track before it but with this one I can envision Pegasus flying through the sky. Track 8 entitled 'Whirlaway' is a piece that provides percussion with a similar sound to a steady horse trot. The acoustic guitar playing is plucked to perfection and the overlays of electric guitar adds to the dreaminess of this piece. The penultimate track on this album is called 'Stable'. The whole energy of the album takes a turn in this track through the sadness played out of an acoustic piano. I like the switch. Maybe 'Stable' is a reference to the depression and sadness being in capitation brings? Maybe the composer wanted to capture the perception of a horse in captivity once the show is over and they're left to their own company? This one really made me think. I like to think, can you tell? Closing this project, we're given 'Leg Yield (part 2). This is a track that loops back to the projects opening. The full circle is reminiscent of a horse track - was that the intention? In summary, this whole project is genius. The thought that has gone into it is really captivating as a reviewer because there were so many questions I was faced with whilst listening to it. I was full of wonder and awe throughout. What was the inspiration behind the track? Could it be this reference to horses, or could it be? Maybe it was... the list goes on.


 


 

INTERVIEW

 

What is the main goal for 'Gift Horse'? What would be the ultimate achievement? Is there a particular vision that you had when putting the project together?

Every track on this LP was inspired by something specific from the world of horses. I’d be thrilled to have all types of horses and equestrian aficionados listening to it. I could imagine some tracks being used as part of the U.S. Kentucky Derby Race broadcast.


Your album has a lot of instruments in the mix - bass, ukulele, banjo, piano, synthesizers, harmonica, drums and percussion. Were they all played by you?

Ah, don’t forget about all the guitars : ) Yes, I played all of the instruments except for one drum and one trumpet track. Also, the horse sounds were made by real (uncredited) horses.


What are your ultimate career goals overall?

My wife and I are music educators. We love helping people of all ages become more curious, confident and creative within their own world of music. As we contribute by creating our own music and inspiring our students to do the same, we reach our personal goals each day. Present moment- wonderful moment.


When did you first realise that you had the potential to be an artist? Is there a memory that has stuck in your mind as the turning point for you? My aunt and uncle gave my a vinyl copy of “Greenpeace: Songs of the Humpback Whales” when I was a little kid. https://www.npr.org/2014/12/26/373303726/recordings-that-made-wavesthe-songs-that-saved-the-whales It made an impression on me. I knew early on that I wanted to make my own music. Thankfully, my parents gave me piano lessons at age 5. That led to learning guitar, bedroom recordings, playing in bands, and eventually studying music in grad school.


What are the main influences in your songwriting process?

I try to capture musical ideas quickly and then build on them. I enjoy improvisation so that’s where most of my recorded music originates from. I listen to a wide array of genres and search for unusual artists and sounds. I also dig music theory so all of that informs what comes out. Some of my favorite artists include Laurie Anderson, Charles Bradley, Bruce Cockburn, Bob Dylan, Bill Frisell, Philip Glass, Al Green, Ramones & The Residents.


How would you define your sound?

Hmm. Great question. I’m drawing from a variety of styles so I struggle with narrowing it down. But, primarily, instrumental guitar-centric music with ambient, blues, jazz, rock, world and avant garde influences.


If you had the opportunity to work with one of your favorite musical artists, who would you most like to collaborate with and why?

Um, probably Laurie Anderson. Why? 1. Because selfishly I’d like to meet her. 2. She is original, experimental, unusual and innovative. If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be? Besides increasing streaming royalties? I hope new vinyl recordings will become cheaper and faster to manufacture at reasonable small batch pricing for independent artists. I’m grateful for streaming but I want to hold something and then watch it spin around while I listen.


What are your future plans? What can we look forward to for the rest of 2022?

I’ll be working with my wife, Jen Hawley on her next few EP’s next. And, our GloomyGirl side project may also have something in the works soon. For my next project, I’m thinking about recording something for robots- maybe titled “Robot Chores”?- music they can listen to while they’re working. I’ll load it with lots of musical zeros/one’s and midi on/off commands— in a non-dualistic sort of way of course. Stay tuned!


Where can we find the tracks? Links to socials and distribution handles


You can pre-order “Gift Horse” now on Bandcamp: https://davehawley.bandcamp.com/ The LP releases on May 7th, 2022 via all of the usual streaming places (Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple, Tidal, YouTube Music, Pandora, etc.)—the same day as the U.S. Kentucky Derby. Find all the links to my links here: https://linktr.ee/DaveHawley Thanks Tamara Jenna for the lovely chat and for supporting new artists! Best wishes on your endeavors.


Thank you so much much it was a pleasure talking with you - I appreciate your appreciation!