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Tag Archives: Heyward Howkins

be frank furness

We’re back from vacation and we bring incredible news.  Last year, Heyward Howkins released one of our favorite albums of the year and the singer has been teasing us ever since with a spattering of demos and alternative tracks from his upcoming sophomore album.  Yesterday, Howkins quit the demos and brought us the real deal:  a full stream of the new album, Be Frank, Furness on his soundcloud.  After listening to the stream, it’s immediately apparent that a lot of effort went into this new album to make it a bigger, better piece of work than Hale & Hearty (as incredible as that album was), bringing in new instruments as well as an edgier and more refined sound.  But along with the higher production value, we still get the good old Howkins we’ve come to know and love.  There are still the quirky rhythms and eclectic lyrics doused with a good dose of brotherly love, keeping his curious references to Philadelphia and history prominent in his lyrics.  If you loved the first album, definitely check out the new release below.  And if you haven’t listened to the first album….definitely check out the new release below.  Be Frank, Furness is out this autumn.

-M. Kauf

Heyward Howkins – Be Frank, Furness:

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Heyward Howkins is always a special treat.  It’s mellow music with a meaning; the kind of music you use to explain things that your own words can’t quite match.  His debut LP was one of our favorites of last year, and I’m positive this new one will be just as good if not better.  We already got a glimpse with the single “Praline Country” and now we get another taste with his acoustic session for On the Hills.  “Flimsy Stock” is a curious little song, I think of romance (it’s hard to tell when listening to Howkins).  Two lovers made of delicate, frail material, growing slow and awkwardly.  It’s great to watch him play along on his guitar, his “ooohs” reverberating in the creaky room and his strums his guitar in his typical fashion.  Check out the video above and look for the new LP, hopefully this summer.

-M. Kauf

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This summer, we spent a lot of time raving about up-and-coming folk singer Heyward Howkins.  His debut album is some of the most unique folk to come out of Philly or America for that matter.  The lyrics are personal and bittersweet coming from Howkins’ smooth quaint voice and his guitar playing fits the melody like a soft quilt on a cold night.  And today, we’ve got a special treat: a sneak peak at his upcoming single, “Praline County.”  It’s a sweet upbeat song that seems to take the last bits of summer sunshine and squeeze them into the autumn leaves with gentle synthesizers and bird-call backing vocals.  But, as usual, the lyrics aren’t all flowers and sunshine.  It’s a song of playful warning and I can’t get enough of it.  Check it out below and if you haven’t yet, give Hale & Harty a listen.

-M. Kauf

Heyward Howkins – Praline County

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It’s nearly impossible to create in a bubble.  Without something to inspire, to draw ideas from, one can’t make art.  And Heyward Howkins is an expert at drawing from his surroundings.  In his debut album, Hale & Hearty (released today), Howkins gathers stories of happiness and also of bitterness, restlessness, and often states of catatonia, an unwillingness to move forward.  All of this, on the east coast, mostly around the city of Philadelphia.

The album works almost like a story book, painting pictures of drug abuse like the title track’s “have another bump ‘til it all feels right” and the bittersweet folk tune “Cocaine Bill” which tells the tale of a drug-addled friend.  And sometimes it’s not the people that suffer but the city itself.  One song in particular, “Spanish Moss” plays a sort of response to The Chili Pepper’s “Under The Bridge” as the singer mourns for his city to the sound of a crackling record and quiet trumpets; a corrupted and wasted place.  Even the quiet closer, “Hudson Piers” discusses the tough life of blue-collar workers to the sound of a gently arpeggiated guitar.

But not every song is about suffering and loss.  “Plume and Orange” uses birds as a metaphor for young love as two birds find romance.  And “Flash Mob” is definitely a standout track for it’s harder hitting guitars and harsh lyrics of taking it to the streets.  And, my favorite “The Raucous Calls of Morning” features some of the best female backup vocals, amplifying Heyward and creating intense tension as both sing, “we hammer towards not being so hard,” trying to do right by each other.

All around this album features some of the best folk-rock of the year both lyrically and instrumentally.  Howkins uses his voice like a plucked guitar, coming in and out of the songs at will as his own guitar strums along.  But the album also features an amazing string and horn section that gives the album it’s unique feeling of quiet fervor.  There have already been some great folk albums out this summer (Tallest Man on Earth’s latest, for example) but few tell a story like Howkins can tell one.  For some of the best Philly folklore around, check out Hale & Hearty.

P.S. If you’re in the neighborhood, Heyward Howkins is performing tomorrow in Philly at PhilaMOCA

-M. Kauf

Heyward Howkins – Raucous Calls of Morning

Heyward Howkins – Spanish Moss

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As June 26th approaches, summer creeping up, and the much anticipated Hale & Hearty arriving, Heyward Howkins provides us with yet another taste of folk-rock goodness.  This single, “Spanish Moss” is a bittersweet song about a city slowly collapsing in the cold and dark.  Quiet trumpets echo against the broken distortions of an electric guitar.  And, as the music plays, a silent record plays static in the background, providing the perfect background of worn-out antiquities trudging along.  You’ve never heard a city fall so gently, as if nothing can be done but watch, sing and hope the city isn’t as damaged as it appears.  Check it out below and download here.

-M. Kauf

Heyward Howkins – Spanish Moss

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“God Damn I’m a Grown Man.”

Heyward Howkins may not be a name that’s familiar to you, but he’s been in the business for a while.  He used to play in a critically acclaimed Philly group The Trouble With Sweeny.  When they disbanded in 2004, Heyward continued on to form The Silver Ages (a super-choir formed of Philly based bands).  Now Heyward’s gone solo and he’s gearing up to release his debut album Hale & Hearty in June, and this is where he truly shines.  Heyward Howkins creates some of the most unique folk music I’ve heard in a long time.  Heyward’s voice is like a foggy morning, it’s a bit cold and misty but the sun is moving over the horizon and everything is fresh and calm.  Not to mention his unique rhythmic singing which seeps easily through the lightly-distorted guitars, quiet drums, trumpets and strings.  Above is the video for the first single, “Sugar Sand Stitched Lip” and it’s the perfect introduction to Heyward.  Summers creeping up and with it, Heyward Howkins.

-M. Kauf

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