Sam Hawksley is unquestionably one of Australian music’s best-kept secrets. If you’ve never heard of Sam Hawksley before, prepare yourself for something very special and unique as this record is set to change everything.
A true independent solo artist in every way imaginable, Sam and his songs have spent the past few years slowly building a loyal audience of life-long Sam Hawksley converts across Australia and North America, one gig at a time, sometimes literally house to house.
With this awesome new album, Sam takes his music and career all to another level.
Sam Hawksley’s new self-titled album is a distinctive and diverse collection of lilting songs, immediate and regularly intimate, occasionally heart-broken but more often joyous and full of life. It’s an uplifting showcase of Sam’s beautiful and gentle songwriting approach, delivered in his always soothing vocal style and backed by world-class musicianship.
Sam Hawksley is the artist’s fourth collection of new songs since the release of his solo debut, On Any Other Day, back in 2003, which was followed by 2005’s Anything You Want and then last year’s critically-acclaimed Broken Hearts Like Records.
The new album features guest appearances by a rather extraordinary collection of other esteemed Australian talent, including the legendary Don Walker [who lends his brilliant piano playing skills to the new album’s opener, “I Don’t Need No More”], Shane Nicholson [who sings backing vocals on “You Still Have Your Way With Me”] and The Flood’s Kevin Bennett [who co-wrote one of the album’s songs, “Come Tomorrow”, as well as providing backing vocals on the dreamy “No Time For The Rain”]. As always, Sam is also backed by his long-time collaborators, Glenn Wilson on drums and producer Matt Fell on a wide array of instruments.
How does an artist so relatively unknown to the mainstream draw on such established talent? Well, Sam is the definition of what you would call a musician’s musician.
A few years back, for instance, Keith Urban by chance heard Sam’s debut album on a car stereo and immediately tracked him down to sign him up as the opening act for his 2005 Australian tour.
Aside from the high points and quieter moments that have defined his solo career thus far, Sam has forged a highly-successful parallel career as an in-demand session musician. It means that even if you can’t sing a Sam Hawksley original off the top of your head, you’d recognise his work as a muso as soon as it’s pointed out.
A gifted guitarist and gun-for-hire, Sam has performed and recorded with a variable who’s-who of the Australian music scene, a list that includes the likes of The Whitlams, John Farnham, Adam Brand, Wendy Matthews, Vanessa Amorosi, Richard Clapton, and many, many more.
His relationship with Don Walker is a classic example of the sort of unique and close partnerships he’s nurtured with a variety of great talent. “Don’s been coming around to my house to do demos of his new songs for years now, which is kind of amazing,” Sam reveals. “I asked him to come in and play piano on the first track [“I Don’t Need No More”] and he was so great about it.”
For all Sam’s wonderful work on other people’s music, it’s in his solo career that the artist truly shines. Which brings us back to the new album.
What’s in a name? Sam says that for all the heart and soul he poured into his first three solo albums, it’s this latest recording which most concisely captures his essence as a singer/songwriter. Which is why he’s chosen to simply call it Sam Hawksley.
“It’s self-titled, and I think that’s kind of important,” Sam says. “This is a record that will tell the public most about who I am, who I am musically.”
Sam Hawksley by Sam Hawksley is without doubt the defining new work in what’s already been a magnificent, albeit not-quite-famous career. This record will change everything.
It’s an album that should finally bust one of Australian music’s best-kept secrets out into the open for all to enjoy. Play it, love it, share it. Why should only other musicians and Sam Hawksley converts have all the fun?