Christopher Hawley
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Christopher Hawley

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"Christopher Hawley at the Princess Tuesday"

It is amazing what people will do for money these days. Every nook and cranny from Barrow to Bahia Blanca is laden with pencil pushers, nail bangers, hole diggers, number crunchers, burger flippers and bottle tippers. Sit back and watch as one and all demonstrate how they bring home the bacon.
For Christopher Hawley, a day at the office is a day on the road. He specializes in motoring from town to town with an arsenal of songs and a six-string guitar. Music is his trade and the road is the catalyst that breathes life into his songs. You can catch Christopher’s latest and greatest at the Princess Wine Bar Tuesday, June 15 at 8:30 p.m.
Hawley is a hardworking musician. From his home base in Hermosa, California, the singer/songwriter maintains a schedule that usually involves playing a gig or two, writing a new song, or planning future shows. He regularly embarks on tours up and down the West Coast, and plays out in L.A. as much as possible, taking advantage of the music and movie industry at hand.
“ Los Angeles is a completely different scene,” says Hawley. “Everyone is trying to get picked up by labels and they only play half-hour showcases. It’s rare that I get to play for three or four hours,” he says.
But with all of its quirks, L.A. has provided an outlet for the road-accustomed musician. Recently he was commissioned to write and perform a guitar-based song for a new movie. “With the film industry so prominent here, there is a lot of opportunity to get your songs on soundtracks,” says Hawley. “It was fun spending time in the studio writing music that was inspired by a visual image.”
And when a guitar-playing friend of his got picked up by Madonna for one of her tours, Hawley was asked by a major label to substitute and accompany pop artist Sarah Hudson on a tour of her own. “It was great; they flew me all over the country and made sure I made it back to Colorado to finish the shows I had booked,” exclaimed Hawley.
But in all of its glory, California is still a few notches down on the list of places Chris prefers to play. In fact, Colorado is numero uno according to the musician. Having graduated from CU, Hawley became accustomed to the warm attentiveness and free-spirited nature that Rocky Mountain dwellers seem to possess. “I try to get back out to Colorado whenever I can, there’s no place like it on earth,” he says.
Along the way, the artist has learned a few things about his craft. Since the age of 12 years old, Hawley has embraced several musical styles that reflect a broad range of worldviews. He began playing classical guitar, which is picking-hand-intensive, forcing the player to develop an unusually aggressive finger-style technique. Now, the finger-style has remained in his jazzy, folked-up acoustic delivery of original tunes.
His latest release, Naked Songs, follows its title closely, with a selection of tunes that are basic, roots-based and simple.
The themes of Hawley’s newest effort jump between the lackadaisical musings of a beautiful day and the joy of communing with the earth. “Naked Song” expresses the freedom in Hawley’s uniquely crafted musical lifestyle, while the song “Waiting for Tanja” is a reggae-driven piece, full of syncopated rhythms and bright melodies.
He makes a thematic switch on with “Beignets for Breakfast,” describing a cloudy morning after a night of partying in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Hawley’s influences are many. He cites Bob Marley, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Leo Kottke, Taj Mahal and Joni Mitchell to name a few. His sound ranges from reggae to folk to country, but always stays true to the artist’s roots—life on the endless black-topped highway of life.
“ I have found that the best way to learn about the world is through first hand experience,” says Hawley. “I have met so many good people and seen the seasons change in so many cool places; it’s been a nice perspective.”
Like Jack Kerouac with a guitar, Christopher Hawley takes to the open road whenever he can. Be sure and catch his next stop, at the Princess Wine Bar, this Tuesday, June 15 at 8:30 p.m.

- Crested Butte News


"Christopher Hawley: Like a rolling stone"



For a solo musician, the road can often be a lonely, debilitating experience, full of disappointment and struggle. Black asphalt screaming by at 80 mph; dank, seedy hotel rooms with no hot water; unresponsive and cold audiences; a constant diet of fast food and no food—these things can drive a musician insane.
For many artists, a bad road experience can permanently taint the music they play. While some of this may ring true for California-based singer/songwriter Christopher Hawley, his music and life are propelled forward by the unique experience of long American highways and the thrill of playing in a different town every night.
Hawley prides himself as a collector of experiences. As a modern day Jack London-esque musician, his music is directly influenced by the people, places, sights and sounds of his travels. His subject matter and art seem inseparable.
“Each passion fuels the other,” his publicist says.
As a guitarist from 12 years old, Hawley has embraced several musical styles that reflect a broad range of worldviews. His original style was classical guitar, which is picking hand intensive, forcing the player to develop an unusually aggressive fingerstyle technique. Now, the fingerstyle has remained in his jazzy, folked up acoustic delivery of original tunes. His latest release, “Naked Songs,” follows its title closely, with a selection of tunes that are basic, roots-based and simple.
The themes of Hawley’s newest effort jump between the lackadaisical musings of a beautiful day and the joy of communing with the earth. “Naked Song” expresses the freedom in Hawley’s uniquely crafted musical lifestyle, while the song “Waiting for Tanja” is a reggae-driven piece, full of syncopated rhythms and bright melodies. He makes a thematic switch on “Naked Songs” with “Beignets for Breakfast,” describing a cloudy morning after a night of partying in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Hawley’s style represents a diverse selection of musical schools. His influences, as he describes them, are numerous and varied. Bob Marley, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Leo Kottke, Taj Mahal and Joni Mitchell all contributed to the crafting of his sound—a sound that touches on the vintage, but idealizes like the present. From reggae to folk to country, all of his heroes have one thing in common—a close connection with the things that provided original inspiration.
As his home for five years, the Denver area offered an ideal place to hone his chops as both a guitar player and a vocalist. Boulder and Aspen were his primary residences for those years, while he toed the line between band member and soloist. While in Vail one year, his reputation as a rainmaker was solidified with a lucky winter performance.
The song “Waiting for the Snow” has become a good luck omen for the ski seasons in the drought-laden Colorado resort town.
“It’s a bluegrass ski bum prayer type of thing. It works every time there’s snow in the forecast,” he told the Vail Daily last year before a concert there.
His recent move to Southern California has given him a whole new assortment of inspirations.
“Living in Hermosa—it’s a nice, pretty place,” he says. “The people are smiling and beautiful. I think I’m writing more upbeat stuff now. Not that I was ever sappy and depressed, but definitely more positive. It might be because the world is so crazy these days; maybe to counter that.”
Hawley will be performing at the Hotel Monte Vista Lounge, 100 N. San Francisco, on Sat, Aug. 16. The show will begin at 10:30 p.m. and is a 21 and older event. For more information, call the Monte V at 774-2403.
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- Flagstaff Live


Discography

Naked Songs, 2000
music streaming at www.christopherhawley.net

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

A year after Christopher Hawley started studying classical guitar, he found himself with a full length cast on his leg, broken from soccer injury. At thirteen years old, bummed out in the beginning of the summer, he turned to his guitar. Years later, several bands ago, and countless miles of touring behind him, Christopher has created a repertoire of songs drawn from experiences and inspirations along the way.

From his first gig, when he was hired by a teacher to serenade his girlfriend as he proposed to her over dinner, to shows at Boulder’s Fox Theater and Hollywood’s Troubadour, his unique blend of rippling finger style guitar and soulful vocals has been heard all over the US and in parts of Europe.

Christopher performed around the Boulder/Denver area and in the Colorado mountain towns for five years, while living in Boulder and Aspen. He was a founding member of the now defunct and unfortunately named Colorado psychedelic rock band, Mucis. After the 1997 release of an album on East Coast independent label, Running Dog Records, years of self-management, touring in a school bus painted like the General Lee from the dukes of Hazzard, and a few thousand records sold, the band broke up.

Christopher didn’t sleep for about a week, and poured all of his energy into booking a European tour with his then girlfriend and musical partner. His 2000 solo acoustic album, Naked Songs, was very well received, and he even got in trouble with British customs while importing another shipment of CDs.

The duo moved to Los Angeles, subsequently went their separate ways, and Christopher has continued to write, tour the US mostly solo, and perform around Southern California with his band, the Christopher Hawley Rollers.

He counts as some of his influences Bob Marley, J.J. Cale, Neil Young, Beck, Taj Mahal, The Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, and Steve Stills. Artists such as Willie Nelson, Jorma Kaukonen, Grant Green, Jimi Hendrix, Yusef Lateef, and Leo Kottke inspire Christopher’s guitar playing and songwriting techniques.