March 04, 2006

Hawksley Workman

Hawksley Workman [born Ryan Corrigan] is a Canadian artist who has gifts to stir hyperbole in the most stony hearted of critic. He has elicited praise from many, and I wish to add myself to the list. I first saw and heard him on television, giving a performance of "No Beginning, No End"... sadly, it was on a pathetic Canadian effort at the nightime talk show format (another one). Nonetheless, the song, and the solo performance, were brilliant, and "No Beginning, No End" still remains my favourite song of Workman's (the song appeared on (Last Nignt We Were) The Delicious Wolves, released in 2001). I've also seen him perform three times, the last two in a vain attempt to witness the magical performance he delivered at Guelph's Hillside Festival a few summers ago. While there was nothing wrong with those shows they failed to match that night... it was special, everything was right, the band, the interplay between both Workman and the crowd and between him and his band. An inspired performance on a beautiful summer's night.

On his latest, Treeful of Starling [released February 28 in Canada/ March 9th in the US], he wisely cuts everything back, bringing it down to it's essence, HW playing most of the instruments and penning on his own all but one of the songs. This is a perfect continuation of his debut For Him and The Girls and Last Night We Were The Delicious Wolves. Unless you take into account the trying too hard effort of Lover/Fighter, but that was just a misstep, he has released a small series of personal and surprising albums.

Two words, if that was all allowed to describe Workman's music, would be poetic and romantic. He has, for me at least, a strange voice, one which easily sweeps up into the upper register and yet still has an everyman, workmanlike quality, that's right I said workmanlike. Where Buckley and Antony Hegarty (Antony and The Johnsons) are angelic, Workman is earthbound, but reaching, always reaching... but, nonetheless, capable of thrilling. If he can stay away from the commercialism that I detected on his Lover/Fighter album and follows his muse, he may, and should, gain similar and equal acclaim to that which met fellow Canadian, Leslie Feist, and her critical success, Let It Die (minus the boundless and countless testosterone fuelled bloggers crushing on him, a la Feist, of course). Treeful of Starling is a right and proper step along the path he began to cut with his debut and continued to follow with his sophomore release. Workman is back on track.

Treeful of Starling tracklist:
1. A Moth Is Not A Butterfly
2. Hey Hey Hey (My Little Beauties)
3. You Are Too Beautiful
4. You And The Candles
5. Rain
6. When These Mountains Were
7. It’s A Long Life To Always Be Longing
8. Goodbye To Radio
9. Ice Age

*Limited Downloads*
Treeful of Starling
+ you are too beautiful

(Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves
+ no beginning, no end

For Him And The Girls
+ no sissies
+ paper shoes
+ beautiful and natural

For Him and the Girls (1999)
(Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves (2001)
Almost a Full Moon (2001)
Lover/Fighter (2003)
Before We Were Security Guards (2004)
Treeful of Starling (2006)


  1. hell yes. hawksley is playing my lil' town of kingston this month.. a solo acoustic set in a cavernous old church. i cannnnnn't wait.

  2. Thank you for the files!

  3. this is great - and it makes me wonder why Angie Aparo slipped through the cracks and had to sell his soul to whomever that country-pop star was. as always, a great track or two from a noteworthy performer - post some Aparo on here - The American, Spaceship, Cry, great songs, all on the same line.

  4. i have heard his voice compared by some to bono's - and whether you think that's a good thing or not, i do think hawksley has some of that ability to deeply connect with just a delicate sort of waver in his vocal delivery.