For his third release, Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter Hamish Hawk has capitalised on the great promise of his earlier recordings to produce a finely-crafted and coherent set of songs which represent a step-change in his song-writing development. Essentially, Swannanoa is a collection of three beautiful piano ballads, written during Hamish’s tour of the USA earlier this year. Each song bears the Hamish Hawk trademarks of warmth, wit and wordsmithery; and together they conjure up a sense of the space and wonderment one might experience in the course of a US road-trip. Mattie Foulds’ expert, light-touch production ensures that Hamish’s distinctive and rich baritone vocals are to the fore in the musical palette, set against graceful piano chords and subtle brush-strokes of accordion, additional keys, vibes and feathery percussion.
The EP opens with the title track Swannanoa, its sense of poignancy and wistfulness conveyed beautifully in Hamish’s delicate vocals. More mellow and soothing vocals follow in China & Down, which includes a number of examples of Hamish’s witty turns of phrase…”…You’re in my picture, I’ve been wrapped round your frame, like a boa constrictor, with love in my name…”.
The closing song, Jackie O, is a mid-tempo ballad which has a classic sound reminiscent of the iconic pop music produced in New York’s Brill Building in the early 1960s. Hamish’s breezy and stylish vocals will make you smile each time he delivers the song’s killer chorus…”…And with the grace of Jackie O, she grazed my torso, I crossed my eyes on her nose, with her on tiptoes, for two fools, how full does the moon glow?”.
These songs are delightfully unconventional in structure, revealing more of their charms with repeated listens. Swannanoa does what every good EP should do…leave you wanting more. Fear not, however…the word on the street is that a new Hamish Hawk album will be released early next year.
Swannanoa was released on 22nd November 2017. For more information on Hamish Hawk, click here.