Tonawanda News

Art

November 12, 2009

MUSIC: The songs (and paintings) of Ron Hawkins

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The 26-piece show is literally an alphabetic tour of the faces defining the music he’s listened to and a few of the ones he’s just happy to have recreated.

“One side was working on musicians that I loved,” Hawkins said. “I don’t listen to Willie Nelson a lot, but man he’s got a great face to paint.”

The gallery show debuts 8 p.m. Friday Night at The Vault, 702 Main St., Buffalo.

‘Lonely’ but together

His latest musical offering, his 11th album, “10 Kinds of Lonely,” was born of an equally humble happy coincidence.

Hawkins began experimenting with some old recording equipment in his basement. The antiquated studio offered both literal and metaphoric influence on the album. Limited track production lent to a pared-down recording process. It meshed with the content of an all-country recording.

The 10-song independent record displays Hawkins’ keen sense for the world around him. It’s the kind of country album that makes you wish country was good again.

The melancholy tone and eminently listenable turf Hawkins has staked out as his starting point in songwriting are cut by lyrics that reflect the harsh reality of the times.

The CD’s opening track, “The Devil Went Down” offers a simple melodic acoustic guitar base paired with a Wild West campfire-esque harmonica and soldiering drum beat. The simple recording lends an amplifier to the real heart of any Hawkins tune, a lyric that can’t help but catch your ear:

“Mother courage where are you now/Sister mercy run out of town/Father confessor drowned in the crowd/Brothers in arms there weren’t nobody around/When the devil came down on you.”

Hawkins, as Low fans can recall, has dabbled in country before. Tracks on nearly all of his previous efforts have hinted at it, but this was his first front-to-back effort in the genre.

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