Freedom Hawk Keep the Season Alive with “Indian Summer”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 4th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

One thing there’s more of than you’d expect in Freedom Hawk‘s new video for the song “Indian Summer?” Hugs. The song comes off their 2011 Small Stone debut, Holding On (review here), and the clip features a sort of literal interpretation of the title, but is pretty cool anyway, as the band is all in the dunes and whatnot and of course the track rules. That always helps, unless you’re trying to get Freedom Hawk out of your head. It probably wouldn’t help that.

Directed by Keith Jackson, here’s “Indian Summer” by Freedom Hawk. Enjoy:

Freedom Hawk will also be at the 2012 Small Stone Boston showcase, Nov. 3 at Radio in Somerville. More info on that here.

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Freedom Hawk, Holding On: Living for the Magic Lady

Posted in Reviews on August 24th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Virginian four-piece Freedom Hawk began to carve their name on the American riffy consciousness with 2009’s self-titled full-length, released by MeteorCity. That album earned generally favorable comparisons to Fu Manchu (from me as well), and on the follow-up, Holding On, the double-guitar unit maintain that smoothly-grooved sensibility, adding to it more memorable songwriting and a vocal approach from guitarist T.R. Morton that inherently reminds of Ozzy Osbourne’s early solo work in both cadence and tone. On first listen, that’s going to be what most stands out about Holding On. The production of Vince Burke (Beaten Back to Pure), who also helmed the self-titled, and the mix of Small Stone’s house engineer Benny Grotto of Mad Oak Studios push Morton’s vocals to the fore, and whether it’s “Faded” bringing to mind “Diary of a Madman” with its backing track later on the album or the earlier “Living for Days” copping a feel off “Bark at the Moon,” Freedom Hawk have a clarity of purpose in their use of the Ozzy influence that’s hard to ignore. It’s a twist on, “Well, if it was good enough for Sabbath,” and to Morton’s credit, he’s able to pull off the style better than anyone I’ve heard in the genre since Sheavy’s Steve Hennessey, and able to do it while also busting out a slew of quality riffs on which Holding On’s 13 tracks are based.

It’s a rock album in the tradition of rock albums. Nine of the 13 cuts are between four and five minutes long, and all of them – the exception being the 1:50 interlude “Zelda” – have a classic rock accessibility that will no doubt set many to bemoaning the state of rock radio. Morton and fellow guitarist Matt Cave work well off each other in terms of riffs and solos, and lead the way through straightforward heavy rock the diversity of which isn’t immediate, but which works nonetheless in a variety of moods, from the mid-paced stomp of opener “Thunder Foot” to the barn-burning “Living for Days” (the shortest non-interlude at 2:50), which follows immediately. The rhythm section of bassist Mark Cave (brother to Matt) and drummer Lenny Hines provides stability beneath the riffs, but the songs have an innate sense of structure as well, so it’s not like they’d fall off the rails otherwise. Not to say Hines and Mark don’t contribute – the tonal thickness of the latter is essential and Hines’ pulsating kick is like the floor on which the wah-infused boogie of “Bandito” plays out – just that the material on Holding On is built around solid verses and choruses, not meandering jams that require the bass and drums to ground them in order to establish some rapport with the listener.

With “Edge of Destiny,” the pace cuts somewhat from “Living for Days,” but Freedom Hawk’s ability to write the noted solid choruses comes to the fore. I’ve found in sitting with Holding On that the songs are not so much breaking new stylistic ground as they are digging into what’s already been done in order to create something memorable and distinct from it. The album is a grower in the sense that the more you listen to its tracks – and like a lot of Small Stone’s output over the last few years, it is very much a collection of tracks despite an accomplished flow between them – the more they leave an imprint on you, so that the grown-up punk of “Her Addiction” (a highlight for Hines in showing off his endurance) doesn’t stand itself out from the rest of Holding On until you’ve been through the album a few times, but ultimately proves worth the several listens it takes to get to that point. Morton, the Cave brothers and Hines have a lack of pretense that’s pervasive, and as “Zelda” – which is probably their most Sabbathian moment, with piano and guitar interplay that could’ve set up any number of Master of Reality’s heavy groovers – gives way to the album’s strongest movement in its midsection, Freedom Hawk have only just begun to show off what they can do within the parameters of their genre.

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Freedom Hawk Sign to Small Stone

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 11th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Heartfelt congratulations to Tidewater, Virginia, outfit Freedom Hawk, who’ve signed with Small Stone Records for the release of their impending new album. Freedom Hawk‘s driving fuzz rock is a killer fit for the label, and I know I’m not the only one who’s really looking forward to that record coming out.

Way to go, guys.

Here’s what Small Stone had to say about it on the Facebooks:

Please welcome Virginia‘s Freedom Hawk to their new home at Small Stone… Good guys, Good band, they are going to fit right in!

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Freedom Hawk Post Video Studio Update

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on December 6th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Virginian rockers Freedom Hawk sent over a link to a YuberToub clip of them recording their new album with Vince Burke (Beaten Back to Pure, etc.) at his Sniper Studios. Bassist Mark Cave had this to say about it:

Freedom Hawk is currently recording a new full-length album (12 songs) with our friend and co-producer Vince Burke/Sniper Studios (Hail!Hornet, etc.).  Our drummer Lenny put together a DIY video of some of the sessions — including some snipets of some of five new tunes: “Thunderfoot” (opens), “Indian Summer” (Lenny‘s drum part), “Edge of Destiny,” “Flat Tire,” and closes with “Standin’ in Line.” Take it easy on us…. it’s not complete, final mixed or mastered.

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