Started as a solo project in 2000 by accordionist and drummer Jeremy Barnes (former member of indie rock legends Neutral Milk Hotel) and named after a line in Cervantes’ Don Quixote (hence the new album’s name), A HAWK AND A HACKSAW became a duo in 2004 when Barnes met violinist Heather Trost. The pair began an adventure that took them to Budapest, Hungary where they lived for two years and met/toured with some of the country’s fnest folk musicians, as well as countless US & European tours both on their own and with big names including Portishead, Calexico and fellow New Mexico resident Beirut (whose Gulag Orkestar album they performed on and helped bring to wider attention). Joined by an ever expanding and contracting line-up of musicians, A Hawk and A Hacksaw seeks to create and document an ecstatic sound much like the village bands of old, with the communal aspect of folk tradition and musicianship the key factor.
Core AHAAH duo of Jeremy Barnes (accordion, percussion) and Heather Trost (violin) have intrepidly explored their love of Eastern European musics, including recording in remote Romanian villages and basing themselves in Budapest (where they put together allstar Hungarian folk group The Hun Hangár Ensemble for a limited-edition EP and tour), as well as touring the world finely balancing raucous shows at folk clubs and Turkish restaurants with grand blow-outs alongside Wilco, Portishead and Beirut among others.
Press quotes on latest album Délivrance (2009)
“So ebullient and full of character that by the time it’s over you feel like you’ve caught a glimpse of the type of joyful festivity that always feels most rewarding after a long journey” Pitchfork
“A cheerfully exuberant fusion based around Hungarian instrumental style, but including a bit of everything, from a Greek melody to echoes of Mexican Mariachi brass and what sounds like a rhythmic of-kilter funeral march that would impress Tom Waits” Guardian
“Underneath all the noise and frenetic cross-fertilising of old and new, East and West, an obvious musical intelligence is at work. Happily, it also clearly recognizes the value of fun” BBC
“…more than mere dalliance or faux goulash … it only takes about ten seconds of exposure to the opening track … to be overwhelmed by the evocative, aromatic, lovingly and closely simulated delights of this album” The Wire
“The band … increasingly resemble modern-day musicologists as they travel across cultural frontiers tapping into grassroots folk” Metro UK
Dan Haywood’s New Hawks are a collection of songs, and also a band, whose epic scope marries transatlantic cosmic roots music with a deeply poetic English folk soul.
A rambling, rolling band whose crazed stage presence, with band members swapping instruments and psychic powers amongst themselves and with the audience, has ensured them cult status. Now they hit the road to hawk their album, the first and last to be released under this name.
The British Isles finally have their own Lambchop – but only for a fleeting while, as a self-imposed time limit means this band are set to end just as they begin. Here’s where New Hawks the band comes in: a collective of kindred spirits from across Northern England carefully assembled over time by Haywood, who bring flesh to the album’s smart and ever-shifting arrangements with guitars, fiddles, cello, drums, hand percussion and more. Haywood himself is a compelling frontal figure, orating his adventures with a certain awkward relish and a weird glint in his eye, both the court jester and the king.
Conceived in painstaking fashion over five years by Lancaster-based singer/songwriter/ornithologist Haywood as a way of documenting his bird-and-people-watching travels around rural Scotland, the New Hawks as songs are captured on a sprawling, hugely ambitious 32-track album that is this project’s first and only release (out in December). A vast modern-day Joycean folk/rock cartography with Haywood as your charismatic navigator poet, and as many ruggedly beautiful crannies to
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