Kaz Hawkins Solo Album Don’t You Know
Some albums can be dipped in and out of and others have to be listened to with an open heart and mind from the beginning to the end. This is such an album. This unexpected solo delivery from Kaz Hawkins is a concept album that is full of anguish, a glimpse of sunshine behind the tears and the sunny uplands, a journey where you learn about pain of walking a mile In someone else’s shoes. The individual segments are short, full of lyrical depth and the full glory of Kaz’s vocals powers soulful deep and then soaring into the clouds with freedom of tonal shape and texture. Kaz without her band there is a vulnerability juxtaposed with a forceful strength as Sam York on the piano accompanies her on this the most personal of journeys. The songs are all written by Kaz, with the inclusion of Hallelujah Happy People linking back to her album Get Ready.
The opening track Nendrum is a tonal poem, taking us back to the chants of a cloister combining with the clarity of her vocals as she sings ‘Hold Me Let me know…. And I’ll Meet you there’ gospel meets modernity. This mix of ancient and modern makes perfect sense as Nendrum refers to a 10th Century Monastic Site in Northern Ireland that Kaz visited during her mental illness melding the many voices with the eighty-one vocal takes from Kaz woven into the power of the opening number.
How to follow this intensity, complexity and simplicity captured in just over two minutes, with a melodic piano and our first introduction to Sam York and the choral delivery full of slow and a begging demand as Kaz begs ‘Don’t Slip Away’. The first single from the album, every download benefiting Aware NI. The spoken interludes bring this spiritual and meaningful album back into the now with her daughters Avril & Amy. The family is integral to the album with Amy singing backing vocals on My Daughter My Reflection and on the album cover Kaz’s Grandson, reflecting that her journey of trauma and anguish has bought her to this crossroad of confidence, love and family. The fourth track is well-known to anyone who has heard Kaz live, dedicated to her daughters Because I Love You working so beautiful in this re-arrangement, followed by the gentle spoken words from Professor Meg Tyler of Boston University who has worked with Kaz over the past few years where she has given lectures to BU Students on using music as a mental health tool; ending Don’t You Know.
Half way through and the power and confidence grows as the tone begins to change with a hint of defiance as Kaz sings about Surviving, seamlessly moving into Better Days. Pandora has dropped once again the magic of hope into the tempo. You can hear the smile, the hint of an infectious chuckle as Kaz sings this jazzy number that is accompanied by a chirpy piano beat.
The album is a different direction but we dip into soulful Alabama Blues with Alabama Love. Opening with a recording of a conversation and Kaz’s chuckle, these are people of Muscle Shoals Kaz met on a recent trip to Alabama. The River That Sings, written about Tom Hendrix’s Wall and the legend behind the story the wall tells of his great Grandmother Te-lah-nay part of the Yuchi Indian Tribe who named the Tennessee River the River That Sings. The piano adds a tension and undercurrent to Lipstick and Cocaine reflecting the props used as we go down the river of hell to emerge the other side to sing with joy in your voice Hallelujah Happy People. This is a song of life, dance and living the dream that is a reality built on a hurtful past.
The penultimate and title track, Don’t You Know is the gathering of the journey we have been on with Kaz her voice is deep soulful shimmering in blood red rubies nothing is crystalline clear like a diamond life led and prizes earned are much more complicated Don’t You Know. Guitar from Sam opens the final number a homage to the beauty of her daughter with Amy joining in on the backing vocals pulling the album together, music and love the strength and heart of every breath, laugh and note sung by the amazing Kaz Hawkins.
Kaz Hawkins Featuring Sam York – Don’t You Know – ALBUM RELEASE 22nd July 2017
5% of album sales are to be donated to Aware NI for Charity Single Don’t Slip Away.
TENdoodle paws out of TEN ….
- Don’t Slip Away
- *Avril’s Interlude
- Because You Love Me
- Don’t You Know (Spoken Word)
- Better Days
- Alabama Love
- The River That Sings
- Lipstick & Cocaine
- Hallelujah Happy People
- Don’t You Know
- *Amy Interlude
- My Daughter My Reflection
- *Amy’s End
Pre-orders available until 27th June. Click HERE