TVD Premiere, Hawk,
“I Believe in You”

The road to joy in rock ’n’ roll is one of simplicity. A few chords, a pleasing refrain, and repeat ’til nirvana. It’s a familiar roadmap for Hawk, the project that brought 2016’s I’m on Fire and 2018’s Bomb Pop. It happens again like clockwork with the new Fly, which arrives in stores on May 15.

Not to be mistaken for the Pennsylvania metal band of the same name, this Hawk is a project that’s been hiding in plain sight for a few years, with Venice, California, writer and singer David Hawkins and guitarist Aaron Bakker at the center of an impressive pop supergroup, featuring multi-instrumentalist Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, legendary Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas, and now Mott the Hoople keyboardist Morgan Fisher. (Gary Louris who was part of past Hawk projects as well as Hawkins’ folk rock chamber group Be, had to bow out this time due to commitments to his main band, The Jayhawks).

The Vinyl District is proud to debut a particularly uplifting Fly track in these dark times, “I Believe in You.” Written to encourage his daughter, its opening line is a classic phrase of power pop, “Oh girl, you know that it’s true”—that’s much more in the vein of The Monkees (from “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”) than Milli Vanilli. With his formidable colleagues, Hawkins whips it up into a layered rock confection, with harmonies, keyboards, and a ringing Stringfellow guitar solo to boot while repeating its urgent truth.

“I wrote this song for my daughter. She is one of the coolest people I know; she is so positive and kind despite facing her own challenges, and every day she wakes up with a smile and shares it with everyone she sees; it’s really inspiring. I wrote it to celebrate her and encourage her,” Hawkins tells us. “I came up with the words and melody while I was feeding her breakfast one day, and I just started singing it to her in the mornings to start the day. She loves it. I had to explain to her what ‘outta sight’ means—so cute. She was super excited when I told her ‘her song’ was going to be on the record, and she just beams every time I play it.”

Hawkins’ road to rock was an unusual one. An abstract painter, he’s also co-founder of the Black Mountain Arts Collective performance group that builds on the creations by John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, and others from the influential rural North Carolina college from the mid-20th century.

As if a harbinger to our current boxed-in, Zoom-conference confines, Fly was recorded separately all over the world, with the big name members recording their parts in California, France, Tokyo, and Seattle. But, as Hawkins says, “To have these guys playing with me is like a dream. I can finally capture the songs the way I hear them in my head.”

“The rhythm of “I Believe in You” was inspired by Ray Charles; those early Atlantic sessions, which I love, and the band absolutely killed it. Pete’s drumming locks in with the guitars and Ken’s organ, and Morgan’s piano drives it home. It makes me really happy. It was the most difficult song to mix on the album by far, with all the different elements, but it was worth it. I feel like it really captures the feeling of celebration and encouragement I was trying to convey to my daughter.”

Fly, the new full-length release from Hawk arrives in stores on May 15, 2020. Preorder and support the release here.

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