Cornish-born but long-time mid-Wales resident Hawkey shares fifty years of his life in music in an eclectic 17-track collection.
Andrew Hawkey, Cornish born but living in rural mid Wales since 1973, has had a 50-year life in music, as writer, solo performer, band member, producer and promoter. His new release ‘Hindsight’ takes this cue to present a 17-track chronological compilation reflecting his many takes on recorded music, from 1969/70 to the present day.
The collection is something of a time machine, its earliest tracks rescued from cassette tapes and with a lo-fi feel taking the listener straight back to the folk scene of that era, with Hawkey’s gentle vocals and acoustic guitar summoning up the spirit of the period.
Inevitably choosing tracks to reflect such a long timespan does make for an eclectic listen, but there are consistent threads running through the collection, notably Hawkey’s very fine harmonica. A live version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Help Me’ is selected to represent Hawkey’s 20 plus years on keys and harmonica with Pat Grover’s Blue Zero, and the uptempo ‘Just One Night of Love’ also features an excellent bluesy harmonica solo. Elsewhere his melodic playing adds consistent colour to his original compositions, notably on ‘Always Treat Me Right’ from 1982, where his playing has echoes of Duffy Power’s later recordings.
‘Desert Moon’ with reverb-heavy electric guitar and prominent accordion has a definite Ry Cooder vibe, while ‘Take Me’ is the wild card choice on the album–featuring fairground organ over keys and guitar and breathy vocals from Welsh singer Jane Gilbert, very Jane Birkin meets Twin Peaks era David Lynch ( really!).
It’s on the earliest and latest recordings that Hawkey’s folk roots are most evident, opening track ‘Between Two Horizons’ with a simple guitar and harmonica arrangement from 1969/70 revisited as a 2022 reprise, adding keys, and a vocal carrying the weary wisdom of the 50 years between the recordings, but again with that wistful harmonica adding emotion.
Firmly in the folk realm, ‘Colombine’ from 1974 features fine arpeggiated acoustic guitar, and a striking chord progression, while on ‘Fences’ from the same year Hawkey’s vocal reveals a Roy Orbison influence, with a lively up-tempo feel, and fiddle added to the mix.
‘Hindsight’ is released as a pressing of 500 numbered copies, with artwork and design credited to his friend Jeb Loy Nichols, and a 20-page booklet, in which Hawkey reveals his influences and maps his progress as a songwriter.
This is a quirky but always listenable collection, following his well-received ‘What Did I Come Up Here For’ (2015) and ‘Long Story Short’ (2020) releases.