CD Review: Tom Hawk - Earning My Spurs

Earning My Spurs
When The Bloom Is On The Sage - Tumbling Tumbleweeds - Waltz Across Texas - Hittin' The Trail Tonight - Cool Water - She Taught Me to Yodel - My Adobe Hacienda - Mexacali Rose - Dear Old Western Skies - Ridin' Down the Canyon - Except For you - Those Old Tex Morton Blues

Go back about a hundred years.  Tom Hawk is that guy singing old cowboy songs outside Big Nose Kate's in Tombstone, Arizona. For a guy from Maryland, Tom has a very fondness for old-time cowboy songs.  He sings thing with reality.  He sings them because he loves them.  He sings them because they are part of the beauty and simplicity that 'real' musical experiences bring to all of us.  Tom does not have a 'western drawl.'  Any maybe that's just right.  He's the 'dude' that's singing cowboy songs on a wooden sidewalk in Tombstone.  Wyatt Earp might stop by, just to hear what this 'dude' has to say with his music.  Tom is also a genuine yodeler.  He uses the old Ernest Tubb song "Waltz Across Texas" to demonstrate how this particular idiom of western music could, and would, include a yodel.  Gene and Roy could both use this music enhancement to bring attention to the 'messages' they were carrying in poetry set to music.  Tom has also included a vital selection of old cowboy songs, as well as movie-cowboy songs to his repertoire.  I would recommend that the acoustic guitar (he plays a Taylor) be filtered a very little in the volume level.  Listeners will want to hear the 'voice'  and the 'song' and the message it is revealing.  Western music seems to be making a comeback of sorts today.  That might be caused by the incredibly high number of music fans who do not particularly like 'country' music of today, which has very little, if any, connects to what country music has always been in the past.  Removing the fiddle and steel from country music is like taking the heart out of free speech.  It's the same with the yodel.  I'm sure there are a large number of current recording artists who think yodeling is very passe.  They wouldn't like Jimmie Rodger's the 'father of country music.'  Tom definitely keeps it in his repertoire, and he sparkles on "She Taught Me To Yodel."  He has a very different kind of yodel, and an interesting one.  He switches into a kind of double falsetto style.  Greg Latta is Tom's biggest helper as the audio engineer.  Tom realizes he is on the early part of the road he is taking.  He knows he is developing, and with each new experience he is enjoying another step into the world of music appreciated by so many people in America.  "Traditional" music is not yet dead in America, even though the current music industry wishes it was.  Tom Hawk is doing a good job keeping the 'old' style and methods of making 'story' music.  That doesn't happen in today's country music.  Tom also knows where to go to get good 'western' songs.  Bob Nolan (did you know he was only 16 years old when he wrote Cool Water?); Gene Autry; and Smiley Burnett.  All of them exceptional 'western' song writers and singers.  Keep up the good work Tom, off this one goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their "CD of the Year" awards made in late August. - RECORD REVIEW BY Bob Everhart, President, National Traditional Country Music Association for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show  

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