Hawksley Workman — Old Cheetah (June 2nd, 2015)
•» I starý gepard se může naučit nové triky. The story of Canadian singer/songwriter Hawksley Workman is equally compelling whether you take it as fact or fantasy.
•» The 12–song effort is theatrical and ambitious. Workman’s signature eclecticism shines brightly on songs like “1000 Miles of Atmosphere,” a nine–and–a–half–minute prog epic that’s stuffed with syncopated rhythms, star–dazzled synth twinkles and unpredictable sonic shifts.
•» Although not every song is quite that wildly sprawling, Workman never goes on autopilot and proves that even an old cheetah can learn new tricks. The style range from the falsetto–flecked soul of “Teenage Cats” to the piano–driven space–rock anthem “We’re Not Broken Yet,” to the salt–of–the–earth folk of “It’s Really Starting to Snow” and the cabaret psych of “Small Town Dracula.”
Born: March 5, 1975 Huntsville, Muskoka region, Ontario
Location: Huntsville, Ontario, Canada
Album release: June 2nd, 2015
Record Label: Six Shooter
01 Intro (That’s Hot) 0:22
02 Make up Your Mind Tonight 2:43
03 Teenage Cats 3:57
04 1,000 Miles of Atmosphere 9:33
05 Don’t Take Yourself Away (Instant Nostalgia) 4:42
06 Not over You 4:21
07 We’re Not Broken Yet 4:40
08 I Just so Happen to Believe 4:25
09 It’s Really Starting to Snow 4:59
10 Small Town Dracula 4:46
11 Winter Bird 3:54
12 A Special Pride 5:41
℗ 2015 Six Shooter Records Inc.
•» Hawksley Workman — vocals, guitar
•» Todd Lumley ("Mr. Lonely") — piano, organ, keyboards
•» Derrick Brady — bass guitar
•» Jesse Zubot — guitar & violin
•» Brad Kilpatrick — drums
•» Squier 1952 Telecaster reissue — early 1980s model, JV series, made in Japan
•» Gibson Les Paul Standard — early 1970s model, ebony finish, Bigsby vibrato tailpiece
•» Gibson Les Paul Standard — early 1970s model, wine red finish, Bigsby vibrato tailpiece
•» Workman uses two amps on tour. The first amp is either a Fender Blues Deville, Fender Hot Rod Deville, or a Vox AC–30. Using an A/B/Y footswitch, he switches between this first amp and a Fender Pro Junior which he uses for guitar solos. He has stated that he uses no pedals with the exception of an MXR "Micro Amp" pedal used with the Vox AC–30.
By Danelle Cloutier, Published May 29, 2015; Score: 8
•» You'd have to be psychic to guess what Hawksley Workman will release next. From his recent one–man soundtrack for the play The God That Comes to his 2011 Christmas album to drumming for Mounties, a project that he said has been "good for his heart and soul," the Canadian musician has built an ever–changing 16–year career with music than spans from rock to cabaret pop that dips into rap.
•» With all of this under his belt, Hawksley Workman came at his new album, Old Cheetah, with newfound clarity. The album has a more consistent pop sound overall than his past work, which glides through genres from one song to the next. “Make Up Your Mind Tonight” and “Winter Bird,” album highlights both, stand out with dazzling synths, anthemic choruses and uplifting bridges that connect the songs.
•» Besides having Steve Bays from Hot Hot Heat and Mounties on piano, keys and banjo, Old Cheetah borrows stuttering rock guitar and electrifying hooks from the supergroup, and while Old Cheetah offers a fresh sound generally speaking, it still has Hawksley Workman’s sonically dirty signature on songs like “I Just So Happen to Believe” and “Small Town Dracula.”
•» It’s a good one, but don’t get too settled in Hawksley Workman’s sound on Old Cheetah; his next album just might be like nothing he’s done yet. •» http://exclaim.ca/
Artist Biography by Stanton Swihart
•» The story of Canadian singer/songwriter Hawksley Workman is equally compelling whether you take it as fact or fantasy. Workman, who would eventually launch a celebrated career as solo artist and indie rock producer, was born and raised in Bay Lake. From this point on, however, the tale gets somewhat hazy and wholly bizarre, owing in large part to the short, ongoing biography published on his website. Self–styled by the artist himself, it seemed to be a partially invented, quasi–fictional account of his first 24 years and created quite a buzz (and a fair amount of conjecture, scuttlebutt, and intrigue) from media and fans even before his music had a chance to become widely known. According to the autobiography, his upbringing included a variety of jobs, including ice–cutting in the Canadian wilderness, polishing rental shoes at a tap–dance academy, and eventually becoming one of the school's top dancers. •» Workman's bio also included a series of letters to a fictional ideal lover and muse who lived underwater, Isadora (which doubled as the name of his record label), that originally appeared in the personal section of Now Magazine. The letters were eventually collected into an actual book, Hawksley Burns for Isadora, and published in the spring of 2001 by the Canadian alternative, experimental Gutter Press.
•» Even if much of his life–story is fabricated, it bespeaks a man of deeply felt impulses and a broad imagination, someone willing to make art even out of his own life — and with a sense of humor to boot. His debut album, For Him and the Girls, found Workman playing virtually every note in addition to recording the songs in his own home studio. Released in Canada in 1999, it received critical raves in that country and in the United Kingdom, where Workman spent considerable time touring. An American release followed the next year. 2001 brought a second self–produced effort, (Last Night We Were) the Delicious Wolves, released on Universal in Canada and the U.K., again with Workman producing and playing almost every instrument. He supported the album with more shows throughout Canada and a second U.K. tour, this time through Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, as well as a trip to Paris. His wild taletelling also began to extend to the stage, where he circulated stories as wide–ranging as his time spent in the circus as a "mad–maker" (the one who goes into the cages to make the lions mad before their performances) during his youth to help his family get by economically to the stage musical that he has been working on.
•» In addition, Workman played on and produced albums for fellow Canadian artists John Southworth, Sarah Slean, Tegan and Sara, the Cash Brothers, and Paul Macleod.
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