The High Hawks Release New Single “Heroes and Highways” from Self Titled Debut Album

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In the first few seconds of The High Hawks’ debut single, a flurry of pulsing electric piano, kick drum, and Townshend-esque guitar strums give way to a flat out J.J. Cale groove just in time for the first line to be sung: “If we could just find a highway…might even find a way to make it home.” And thus, The High Hawks take flight. That tune, “Heroes & Highways,” is an appropriate first taste of music from the long-time-coming, feel-good Americana cooperative, naturally expressing the range of which the bands’ members can reach. With close to 150 years of collective experience as professional touring musicians, The High Hawks—Vince Herman  (Leftover Salmon), Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth), Chad Staehly (Hard Working Americans), Adam Greuel (Horseshoes & Hand Grenades), Brian Adams (DeadPhish Orchestra) and Will Trask (Great American Taxi)—have maintained a generation-spanning presence at the forefront of the roots music scene for over two decades. On June 11th, their debut album The High Hawks will be released via LoHi Records.

Yesterday, Live for Live Music premiered the music video for the aforementioned “Heroes & Highways,” a song the band calls “a nod to the ever-present tension of the thrills and experiences of ‘the highway’ and the comfort and pleasures of home sweet home.” Live for Live music echoed that sentiment, calling the tune “a much-needed reflection on the way of the road.” Fans can watch the video for “Heroes & Highways” now at this link and pre-order or pre-save The High Hawks ahead of its June 11th release right here.

While the term “supergroup” gets thrown around a bit too frivolously, it’s an apt description for these gentlemen who’ve known each other, played in other musical outfits together and sat in with each other’s bands for the better part of the new millennium. But talk to the band members, and you’ll find that their reasons for getting together were much more down to earth. “Sometimes you meet somebody and you hit it off, and you feel like, ‘Man, I don’t want to just look at the cover, I want to read that book,’” says guitarist Adam Greuel with a laugh. “It’s a tight-knit music community in our Americana-bluegrass-jam band world. Over the years, we all kept bumping into one another and realizing there was a deep sense of fellowship and kindred spirit. The main impetus to form The High Hawks was really a curiosity about one another, both musically and personally. This band came out of a yearning to hang out.”

Two years ago, when they first convened at guitarist-singer Vince Herman’s house in the Rockies, there was no clear road map for where they might go. Greuel says, “We had a run of shows booked in Colorado, and we didn’t know what kind of music we were really going to make. Everybody brought a few song ideas along. It was two days before our first show, and that’s when a lot of the songs came together and our whole vibe as a band came together. We have shared influences, shared musical vocabulary, but even with that, there was a kind of telepathy that was like, ‘Holy moly, not only should we be playing some shows, but let’s cut a record too!’” “We went in with zero expectations,” says Carbone. “Once we got together and played the songs we had in mind, it was like, ‘Wow, there’s something going on here! This is not just a bunch of guys playing some songs. This is a band.’”

Indeed, the baker’s dozen of songs that make up their debut have the strong identity and cohesiveness of a band three records into their career. The summery, fiddle-infused opener “Singing a Mountain Song,” with its self-referential line—Soaring like a high hawk across this mountain top—acts as a kind of mission statement for the whole collection. There’s a lot of good feeling and optimism in these grooves, from the celestial cowboy vibe of “White Rider” and the revved-up Cash rockabilly of “Bad Bad Man” to the catchy, sauntering “Do Si Do,” which sounds like a great lost Grateful Dead track, the spare emotional cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Fly High,” and “Just Another Stone,” a moving ode to love’s redemptive power. Throughout, the creative hand-offs between four songwriters and four distinct singers all come together to channel influences from bluegrass to folk to reggae to cosmic Americana into a singular, appealing voice. “These songs wouldn’t sound like High Hawks songs if it was just one of us playing them,” Greuel says. “When it all comes together, there’s a sound.”

As touring starts to wind back up—a list of the High Hawks’ June tour dates can be found below—the band is ready to get these new, feel-good songs out in front of a live audience. “There’s a lot of stuff on this record that’s soulful and soul-nourishing,” says Carbone. “That’s what I get out of it. So I hope that people who listen will get something similar—a replenishment and a nurturing of the soul.” And that’s something that, after all these years of making music and touring the world, all of the band members are grateful for—as the outro of “Heroes & Highways” exclaims, they “Still got a soul!”

The High Hawks Tracklist:
Singing A Mountain Song
Talk About That
Heroes & Highways
Just Another Stone
When The Dust Settles Down
White Rider
Fly High
Bad Bad Man
Do Si Do
Home Is
Blue Earth
Trying To Get By
Goodnight Irene

The High Hawks On Tour:
June 2 – Pearl Street Brewery – La Crosse, WI
June 3 – The Hook & Ladder Under The Canopy – Minneapolis, MN
June 4 – WIJAM Presents Sol Dance at Jones Park – Appleton, WI
June 5 – Mackey’s Hideout (outdoor stage) – McHenry, IL
June 6 – The High Hawks Invitational @ Long Bridge Golf Course – Springfield, IL