DIARY - 12 FEBRUARY 2005 - SAM HAWKSLEY INTERVIEW
HAWKSLEY - ORANGE BOY CENTRE STAGE
a long trip on the lost highway from Orange in the guts of NSW to
New York and Nashville via the Central Coast but Sam Hawksley has
made the journey a winner.
Hawksley has written songs with and for a brace of major Australian
artists diverse as
Melinda Schneider, Felicity and Adam Brand.
And he has expanded his music and support base by writing and recording
with roots acts aimed at rock radio.
His songs have been performed on TV soapies Neighbours and Cooks and
covered by Nana Mouskouri's daughter Lenoua and brace of Australian
But the singer, supporting expatriate Australasian country superstar
Keith Urban on his national tour, has not flown the coop.
still sitting in a 1990 Toyota Camry as we speak," the singer told
Nu Country TV as he prepared to strut his stuff at the historic St Kilda
Palais - Saturday February 26,
"I'm not jetting off to the Bahamas yet."
With Urban's concert almost sold out and the superstar in huge demand
in the U.S. it seems Sam has two-stepped into the promo breech.
But the prolific son of a toolmaker and draughtsman has flown overseas
frequently to write with peers plugged into the star making machinery.
36, wrote with Jesse Harris - guitarist for a then unknown Nora Jones
- on a New York sojourn in 1999.
The song Lay It Down ended up on Hawksley's second solo disc Anything
You Want on Roadshow Music.
"Jesse I met in New York on a writing trip," Hawksley revealed,
"he was just another struggling singer songwriter like me. He told
he had just started working with this girl called Norah Jones. And two
years he's up on stage accepting a bunch of Grammy Awards with her. We
recorded the demo of the song, Lay It Down, in New York as an acoustic
track, When I came to record it back here I couldn't get close to the
vibe that the demo had so put that on the record."
The Texan temptress and March tourist expanded her jazz music to embrace
country and is a staple with acts like Shotgun Willie Nelson on concept
and tribute discs.
also wrote his entrée song Adelaide with prolific
award winning Ohio born Nashville songsmith Kim Richey whom he met
at festival in Allentown, New Jersey.
"I saw her sitting under this tree in the park having a milk
shake and sat down and had a chat," the singer recalled.
"I met up with her again when she came out and toured here
with Jim Lauderdale in 2002. But we wrote the song at her home outside
Nashville on a writing trip in 2002. I had a couple of her albums
from 1996. She was the person I most wanted to write with so I planned
my whole trip around writing with her. We only wrote the one song
as she was doing the CMA awards that night with Brooks & Dunn
and was involved in legal battle with a former manager and the phone
born in Zanesville - a Dayton, Ohio, suburb named after the great, great
grandfather of western writer Zane Grey.
She has lived in Colombia and Sweden and U.S. cities Boston, Denver, Bellingham,
Washington and Nashville but now calls Austin home.
She joined Bill Lloyd of Foster & Lloyd in a college band, earned
an environmental education degree, worked in Colorado and headed to Nashville
and became a popular vocalist.
Richey, 47, cut her fourth album Rise in San Francisco with producer Will
Bottrell of Shelby Lynne and Sheryl Crow fame.
She has written hits for Trisha Yearwood, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty
Loveless, Lorrie Morgan, Radney Foster and Cyndi Thomson.
RUSSELL MORRIS AND HIT MEN
sessions with local artists diverse as Melinda Schneider, Felicity and
Adam Brand are less frenetic.
But he says As The Crow Flies - penned with Russell Morris - was
inspired by murder in the Melbourne underworld wars.
"Russell wrote most of the lyrics in that song," says the singer
who won't need body armour or body bag at the Palais.
"It's more what he cooked up in his own mind. I'll have to quiz Russell
Although Hawksley likes to keep his songs open ended he confessed that
his single Into The Blue was inspired by summer holidays at The
Entrance on the NSW Central Coast when he was living in Orange.
"It was about growing up and spending a lot of time on Central Coast
where dad was a member of the surf club."
Although his biggest earners are country songs his eclectic roots music
is aimed at the mainstream market.
But, like country peers, he is a victim of the insular formats that have
killed so many music careers.
Count To Three with Melinda Schneider and it was played on high
rotation on Pay TV channel CMC," says Hawksley.
"But the pop radio formats are so narrow - the amount of songs they
add is so small. There are so many pop acts from around world up for two
add spots a week. You're betting off going in the lottery. But there's
lots of passionate people in community radio and that is a huge help to
country acts who have to rely on TV. My songs Some Kind Of Miracle
and Always were among mine used on Neighbours.
You never know how many people watch Neighbours until your songs are used.
People will ring you who, never in your wildest dreams would admit to
watching Neighbours. One of them was used in a big wedding scene."
has also written with Felicity who is in Victoria with the Feral Swing
Katz for Tamworth On Tour.
He wrote Western Lullaby with the Tamworth born singer for
her swing album New Shadow and Goodbye for her previous
disc Nothing To Hide.
But their collaboration Tomorrow - destined for one of her
albums - landed on his new disc.
Tomorrow with Felicity with banjo in mind,' Sam revealed.
"But we rock it out more, it's kind of Beatlesque so I cut it instead."
a video clip for Come Back Baby - a tune penned with Brooke McClymont
- but not Beautiful Girl.
Hawksley's tune depicts a show biz belle flying high in movies but battling
with fame in the tabloids.
"Its about a Winona Ryder type figure," he says.
"On the surface they should have it all together but maybe they don't.
It's an amalgam of several of those characters."
Which means it could be about any of the transient flock of instamatic
belles that ring loudly and briefly in the unlucky radio country.
Hawksley makes a healthy living from his writing and performing for local
artists his treasure trove may be over the ocean.
"I have had two song covered in France, one by girl called Elsa who
is the wife of former captain of French soccer team."
"She is France's version of Posh Spice. I have had another one cut
by a girl called Lenoua who is the daughter of Nana Mouskouri. They have
to change lyrics as they don't translate and rhyme in French. So you have
a translater who changes the slant and takes percentage of the royalties.
One was called Can't Get Over You."
Sam has written in Nashville he has been advised that, like other artists,
he needs to move there to be accepted as a writer.
"I had a meeting with Sony publishing and was told 'you have to live
here and be part of the scene to get cuts.' Keith Urban had told me that."
So how did Sam get the support on the Urban tour?
"It's fantastic, I'm honoured he picked me," says Sam.
"Keith's tour promoter Rob Potts was driving Keith around in his
car last year and playing my previous album. Keith said who's that and
asked for Rob's copy. I then landed this tour."
Hawksley tours nationally with Urban and kicks the dew off the glass at
The Palais in St Kilda at 8 p m on Saturday February 26.
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