Shawn Hawkins & The Offenders

Shawn Hawkins & The Offenders


The Outlaw Country swagger of folks like Waylon Jennings and Mere Haggard crossed with the Alternative Country sensibility of writers like Steve Earle and Ryan Adams.


“I grew up in a trailer. My step dad was a logger, my mom was a truck dispatcher, my dad was a drifter, I was born into a country song”. As a young boy, Shawn Hawkins was weaned on Mere Haggard and Waylon Jennings but with the dawning of the 80’s, rock and roll caught Shawn’s attention. “I tried it and loved it all, I was a head banger, a goth, even a hippie – if there was such a thing still - But I’d written Country music off altogether, maybe it was too close to the truth for me.”
Years passed, Shawn escaped the small town by enlisting in the Marine Corps. While stationed overseas he encountered the old familiar refrains of a David Allen Coe song, Shawn’s trailer park raising came rushing back to him. He began to re-familiarize himself with the music of his youth, Waylon, Willie, Cash and Coe but most of all Waylon. “Man, Waylon is the real deal, the coolest man there’d ever been, I’d always played music, even wrote some embarrassingly awful metal in my teens but now I found that these old country songs just poured out of me. I tapped into something that moved me to my core”. Country music was enjoying resurgence in the early nineties but that music was different. The country he remembered was tougher and dealt with subject matter that now seemed taboo. “It was all drinking, druggin’, cheating, loving and losing back then. The new stuff just…well it lacked balls”.
Shawn finally made his way to Portland in 1998 and tried to start an outlaw country band. When that didn’t pan out, he hooked up with some Rockabilly players and started a band called the Speedway Playboy’s. With that roots connection taking hold he started piecing together his first outlaw country band “Phantom 309” named after the Red Sovine trucker song. Time went by, the sound evolved, ever changing line ups finally prompted Shawn to go solo with a revolving door of pickers comprising his backing band, which by now had been renamed “The Offenders”. I didn’t come up with that name” Shawn Recalls, “My guitar picker at the time chose it. I think half my band had been to prison…or should have been and the name seemed to fit”. In 2004 Shawn hung up his cowboy hat. “We’d just become a bar band doing five hour nights at truck stops and doing very little original material. I was tired and it stopped being fun for any of us”.
In 2005 Dale Watson, Whom Shawn had worked with years earlier asked him to play some NW dates. “We reunited just for the Dale shows” Shawn recalls “but we soon realized what we’d been missing” on a lark the band participated in the NW Battle of the Country Band’s…they won. The winning was rewarding but moreover it reminded them that maybe they did have something left to give. Shawn was inspired to start writing new material that played to the band’s many influences including Outlaw Country but also Blues, Indie, Rockabilly and even at times Heavy Metal. The result, nearly ten years or perhaps even a lifetime in the making resulted in the debut release…Times Will Change…a belief Shawn still holds true for what he calls “real country music”.


Times Will Change - 2008

Set List

Sample 3 set night of 45-55minute sets

Set 1
A Few More Songs To Write - Shawn Hawkins
Lonesome, On'ry and Mean - Waylon/Steve Young
Love In A Bottle - Shawn Hawkins
Early Morning Regret Blues - Shawn Hawkins
Aint No Use - Shawn Hawkins
Good Time Charlies Got The Blues - Waylon Jennings
T for Texas - Tompall Glasser
William's Reply - Shawn Hawkins
Waylon Come Save Us - Shawn Hawkins
Long Lonely - Chad Lanning
Workin Man Blues - Merle Haggard
I'm Sorry - Shawn Hawkins

Set 2
Can't You See - Marshall Tucker Band
Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way - Waylon
Georgia On A Fast Train - Billy Joe Shaver
Dear Nicole - Shawn Hawkins
OD'd In Denver - Hank Williams Jr.
Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie
Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot
Family Tradition - Hank Williams Jr.
Heart Like A Wheel - Adrian Wulff
Maggie Mae - Rod Stewart
I Aint Living Long Like This - Rodeny Crowell

Set 3

Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line - Waylon