-Dave Howell Special to The Morning Call
“Eleven Alive” The Doug Hawk Proposition
This is not background music, and it might take a few listenings to appreciate Hawk’s merging of influences. His yearning voice and light touch with electric piano give a suggestion of lounge music. But many of his lyrics are highly political, like “Poison In My Well,” which was inspired by the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.
The opening song, “Calorie Bomb,” is about corporate driven overeating in a world where many go hungry: “It’s all because we eat wrong feast while families starve.” In another setting the lyrics would be too harsh. But carried with the jazzy feel of the band and Hawk’s beautiful melodies, they are a welcome surprise in a world of pop blandness.
Guitarist Mike Lorenz uses a lot of funk chording along with jazz and rock. Lee Clarke on bass and Paul Wells on drums put out a heavy beat, almost as if this were dance music. The drums sound a bit dominating at first, but they make sense with the tough emotional feel of the songs. Hawk even goes into hip hop on “Heroes?” rapping out polysyllabic words about our useless overseas wars.
“Eleven Alive” also includes “Caught in a Quiet Room,” a song Hawk wrote after the death of his mother, which moves from a bleak outlook on life to a bit of hope. He ends the CD by exploring the complex emotions of love in “With You, Without You.” .
This is a CD from an artist whose unique voice deserves wider recognition, in the Lehigh Valley and beyond.
The Doug Hawk Proposition plays a CD release party at 9 p.m. Feb. 3 at Black and Blue, 683 Walnut St., Easton, 610-438-3604.