2010 is set to be a banner year for Hawksley Workman with his 11th and 12th albums on the way. In fact, Meat hits stores today while singles from its immediate follow-up Milk will be gradually released digitally over the next 5 months. Hawksley first captured my attention at the 2006 Edmonton Folk Festival. I had heard his name here and there previously, but the first time I actually heard him was his Friday night performance around midnight. In fact, from the hillside I was so far away I could barely make him out on the main stage, but he did a commanding set with no backing band except for the inimitable Mr. Lonely on piano. Then over the next couple days I checked out a couple of his side stage sessions (including one with Feist) and was repeatedly impressed. I saw him again at the 2007 Calgary Folk Fest then once more at last year's Juno Songwriter's Circle show, yet somehow I've never been able to catch one of his own designated shows. In addition to his prolific solo work, he's also produced albums for the likes of Sarah Slean, Hey Rosetta!, Tegan & Sara, Great Big Sea, Jeremy Fisher, and Serena Ryder.
Hawksley Workman - Safe and Sound (Live at The Juno Songwriter's Circle 2009)
My single favourite concert moment of 2009 was watching from the third row of The Centre as Hawksley and Mr. Lonely silenced the audience with this stunning version of Safe and Sound, thankfully immortalized in a CBC radio broadcast. This live version was by far my most played song of 2009.
Hawksley Workman - Striptease (Live at CBC Radio 3)
Hawksley performs the single Striptease from his 2001 album (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves and slips in a bit of Beyoncé's Crazy in Love at a 2008 CBC Radio 3 session.
Last Friday I had the fortuitous opportunity to check out Hawksley Workman perform a short intimate acoustic set at The Peak, a local rock radio station. The day before, Hawksley had tweeted a chance to win tickets to the show. Even though I got an e-mail that night that they were probably full, the next morning I got another e-mail that I'd been added to the guest list. Woohoo! The gig took place in the Peak Performance lounge, what seemed to be a converted meeting room filled with a mini elevated stage and about 4 plush sofas and a few seats. I nabbed a primo seat on a front row couch and buckled in for a four song set: Smoke Baby, We Dance to Yesterday (new Milk single), Your Beauty Must Be Rubbing Off, and Devastating (another Milk song). This was followed by a Q&A, photos, and autographs. Good times.
Here are the dates of his upcoming cross-Canada tour, which conspicuously skips over Vancouver. This was actually one of the questions posed to Hawksley and he reassured us that he's pencilled in for some Olympic performances but even he doesn't know the exact dates yet. I did a little checking and he's supposed to play free shows at the Richmond O-Zone and up at Whistler (Feb. 16).
March 05 - Cumberland BC - Sid Williams Theatre
March 06 - Victoria BC - Alix Goolden Theatre
March 07 - Kelowna BC - Kelowna Community Theatre
March 08 - Trail BC - Charles Bailey Theatre
March 10 - Red Deer AB - Memorial Centre Theatre
March 12 - Banff AB - Eric Harvie Theatre
March 14 - Edmonton AB - Winspear Centre
March 17 - Calgary AB - Jack Singer Hall
March 18 - Saskatoon SK - Odeon
March 19 - Regina SK - Darke Hall,
March 20 - Winnipeg MB - Burton Cummings Theatre
April 07 - Saint John NB - The Blue Olive
April 08 - Fredericton NB - Playhouse Theatre
April 09 - Halifax NS - Rebecca Cohn Theatre
April 10 - St. John's NL - Holy Heart Auditorium
April 12 - Charlottetown PEI - The Guild
April 13 - Charlottetown PEI - The Guild
April 15 - Quebec City QC - Le Cercle
April 16 - Montreal QC - La Tulipe
April 17 - Ottawa ON - Bronson Centre
April 20 - St. Catharines ON - Sean O'Sullivan Theatre
April 21 - London ON - Music Hall
April 24 - Toronto ON - Massey Hall
Hawksley Workman - I've Got the World on a String [originally by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler]
Hawksley Workman - Love Will Tear Us Apart [originally by Joy Division]
Hawksley Workman - Bankrobber [originally by The Clash]
Hawksley Workman - The Ocean [originally by Led Zeppelin]
Hawksley likes to warm up in a new studio by unleashing some Zeppelin with his bandmates. He shared this recording in a recent episode of his podcast HAWK radio, which is all Hawksley Workman, all the time.
Donovan Woods - Ice Age [originally by Hawksley Workman]
Chris Mills - Don't Be Crushed [originally by Hawksley Workman]
The Great Canadian Vocal Music Project - Hey, Hey, Hey (My Little Beauties) [originally by Hawksley Workman]
This was an unofficial sequel to the Langley Schools Music Project with Belleville, Ontario's Centennial Secondary School Choir singing covers of only Canadian artists including Bruce Cockburn, Feist, Blue Rodeo, Sloan, and more. It's a little more pro and polished than the Langley Schools Music Project, but I suppose it helps when your high school music teacher is David Reed whose debut album featured help from Danny Michel, Andy Maize, and Hawksley Workman to name a few. The Great Canadian Vocal Music Project, Vol. 2 was recorded in 2007 and pressed as CDs for the students and their families, but there are plans to release the album through Maple Music and Zunior. Until then, you can listen to them on their myspace site.
Last year, Hawksley was also part of the 60+ artists who re-did Midnight Oil's Beds are Burning for the Time for Climate Justice campaign. Music video here and song download here.
His great one-take video for Jealous of Your Cigarette:
A new one inspired by wacky Japanese game shows for the single We Dance to Yesterday: