Monday, April 11, 2011

The Craftsmanship of Bees


In my last post, I announced that I had some plans in the works around this-a here bloggoscope. Well without further ado:

Over the last couple weeks on my Facebook page I have been participating in something called the 30 day song challenge. Each day I post a song based upon a specific criterion. I also try to write up a short blurb on why I chose it, or at least something snarky. Day 11 was “A song from your favorite band.”

For anyone who knows me well, this choice was a pretty easy one; Hawksley Workman. I wrote a short bit on why I chose him and it spurred a huge idea in my little mind.

I have been listening to Hawksley Workman for the past ten years. Whenever I don’t know what I want to listen to, I typically return to Hawksley Workman, specifically to the album Lover/Fighter. I got to thinking - always dangerous, yes – that it would be fun and enlightening to take a look back at the career of Hawksley Workman and honor this fine artist through my sincere – albeit meager – words.

A Lesson in History: What’s So Special About This Guy?

From For Him and the Girls, released in 1999, to Milk and Meat, both released in 2010, Hawksley Workman has been a prolific songwriter, a poet, a gifted producer, a consummate live performer, and an immensely talented musician. He releases several albums a year, produced the first album commercially released by Tegan and Sara, This Business of Art. Not only did he produce it, but also played every instrument on the album. He has also produced albums for Sarah Slean, Serena Ryder, and Jeremy Fisher. He sent a series of poetic letters into a Toronto magazine and later collected them in the book Hawksley Burns for Isadora. There are live clips of his performances all over YouTube, as well as a DVD of a concert from Lille, France, appropriately titled Live in Lille. He will produce and release his own albums within weeks of completion, resulting in the release of several albums in a year (not to mention several EPs as well), such as (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves and Almost a Full Moon in 2001, Between the Beautifuls  and Los Manlicious in 2008, and the aforementioned Milk and Meat in 2010. All of this adds up to a multi-talented artist that, at least in my humble opinion, deserves a fair bit of recognition.

And recognized he shall be. Over the next few weeks/months/however the bloody hell long this takes me, I’ll be taking a look back at Hawksley’s body of work and writing extensively about the experience. I’ll be looking at each album individually and offering an overview of the album, looking at thematic elements, general style, instrumentation, and any additional information I can come across on the album. (It’s worth noting that my major resources for this project will be the albums themselves, Wikipedia, Hawksley’s website, Live in Lille, and Hawksley Burns for Isadora.) I’ll also be providing a song by song breakdown of the albums, discussing their merits and shortcomings, elucidating upon elements brought up in the overview, and even take into account alternate or live versions of the song that can be found. After all of that, I’ll wrap up with some final thoughts on each album.

I suppose if you’ve read this far you’re wondering exactly how many albums this is going to cover. Well, just for you (you sweet person, you), here’s what we’ll be looking at:

  • Albums
    • For Him and the Girls – 1999
    • (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves – 2001
    • Almost a Full Moon – 2001
    • Lover/Fighter – 2003
    • Treeful of Starling – 2006
    • Between the Beautifuls/Between the B-Sides* – 2008
    • Los Manlicious – 2008
    • Milk – 2010
    • Meat – 2010
  • EPs
    • Before We Were Security Guards – 2004
    • My Little Toothless Beauties – 2006
    • Puppy (a boy’s truly rough) – 2006

If anything else is released in the duration of this project of mine – and let’s face it, with how often this man turns out something new, it’s a strong possibility – I will try to cover that as well. So what do you say? Won’t you join me in this endeavor of love? Won’t you help me celebrate the man’s work? Let us go kicking and screaming. Singing and dancing. Let us appreciate the candles and the honey.


* Between the B-Sides is a three song B-side (duh) released alongside Between the Beautifuls, therefore, for the purposes of this project, it’s being counted as part of the album.


  1. I did read your post. You knew I would. I usually read everything you write. I am ready for your next post. I'm sure when you are done we will all know about Hawksley workman.
    Maybe when it's all done you should send it to him. He might like to see what a fan has to say.

  2. Actually, I already sent this post to him via Twitter. I'm pretty sure he read it, too!