This one was a lot of fun. I received this advance earlier in the year and really didn’t do anything with it. I came back across it recently while cleaning up some files. I’m really glad I did.
What I discovered, was something absolutely, completely unexpected. Like most of us out there, I often pre-judge a book by its cover. In this case, when I saw a pair of distinctive cover songs on Brother Hawk’s EP Big Trouble Sessions. I kinda chuckled. I mean come on….when a pair of covers such as Alice in Chains “Nutshell” and even more striking, Soundgarden’s “Fell On Black Days” take up two tracks of a four track EP, I’m not expecting a whole lot. As I pressed play, I tried to brace myself; to prepare myself to try to express my disappointment as positively and professionally as possible. Let this be a lesson I take to heart. Brother Hawk straight up punched me hard, right in the feelings with not only both of the striking and emotive covers, but also with two originals, “Like Water” and ”Black Dog.”
Brother Hawk calls Atlanta home, and that residency provides a key element in their soulful and reaching sound. The band has a handful of previously released EPs full-lengths and live releases available via their website and Bandcamp page. So many in fact that I don’t have a clue how they’ve missed my radar to this point. This Big Trouble Sessions EP was recorded live, appropriately at Big Trouble Studio in Atlanta on March 22, 2019 and engineered, mastered and mixed by TJ Elias.
“Like Water” begins the EP, and it’s slow, swampy and brimming with pure soul. It’s got an “epic” song feel to it overall, a song that would provide a fitting soundtrack for the end of days. Seriously a really great song. The other original,“The Black Dog takes on a bluesier approach, but it still feels earthy and rooted in a southern soul that also lives and breathes.
Of the two covers, I was drawn to the creative approach of Alice In Chains “Nutshell” from the 1994 “Jar Of Flies” release. What Brother Hawk have done with the song is to have, dissected it, and crafted and polished it anew. It’s simply a beautiful and respectful rendition of a well known song thats been given a new, fresh interpretation. It’s not that the version of Soundgarden’s iconic “Fell On Black Days” is any less impressive, it’s just that the song is so well known, and more resistant to any re-interpretation. So with that in mind, the song, while perfectly performed, is essentially a straight up cover. Still, it’s worth a listen.
Brother Hawk has something special about them. Their sound is earthy and rich, and Brisendine’s vocals are honest, powerful, soulful and compelling. The musicianship is top notch and memorable with a feel of a band that’s ready for more exposure. Brother Hawk’s definitely a band I would say is hard to label. II think I’ll need to dig deeper into their catalog to unearth a better assessment. But just based on this EP, they have a sound and vibe that will appeal to a broader audience. I hope that happens. I loved this EP, with the only complaint being its brevity. https://brotherhawk.bandcamp.com