I See Hawks in L.A., survivors of the once-vibrant L.A. alt-country community, gained popularity partly through their association with artists like Mike Stinson and Randy Weeks, but they didn’t follow their compatriots to Austin. Their fervent followers have long demanded an acoustic album, stemming from a three-year residency of acoustic shows at a downtown L.A. bar. The band obliged on this, their sixth release, recording these sessions live around three microphones, accenting their strong harmonies, dexterous finger-picking and darkly humorous lyrics.
The core trio of Rob Waller, Paul Lacques and Paul Marshall do the heavy lifting, assisted by long-time cohorts Gabe Witcher on fiddle, Richie Lawrence on accordion and Dave Raven on drums, among others. Themes of mortality factor into the 13 tracks, but because these guys don’t take themselves too seriously, the tunes are less like dirges and more like the up-tempo rockers on the band’s electric albums. Their hippie vibe prevails through such tales as “Big Old Hypodermic Needle” and they conjure up all-too-familiar memories with “I Fell in Love with the Grateful Dead.” The dobro-inflected closer “If You Lead I Will Follow” leaves us wanting more. Climb aboard for another psychedelic-laden, hilarity-filled ride with today’s cosmic cowboys.
– Jim Hynes