Tommy Hawkins
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Tommy Hawkins

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


What do you get when you take haunting vocals, piercing lead guitar lines, and dynamic hand drumming and blend it with the sounds of espresso machines and workers’ cries to “turn it down?” It’s not the newest trendy coffee shop drink, but rather Dan Welch and his band grooving acoustically at Spot Coffee in Rochester, NY.



Dan Welch grabbed the audience’s attention with the hard, bluesy strumming of an original tune that opened up the night of music. Lead guitarist, Tommy Hawkins, wasted no time solidifying grooves by jumping in with bends on his Fender Strat reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughn. Brad Farrow, playing a single djembe drum, provided all the rhythm that was needed to get the crowd’s feet tapping.



The band used dynamics to let the listener focus in on the words and at times, want to get up and dance as if it were an outdoor festival with a large jam band playing. These three musicians showed what can happen when a band has played together for six years. As Dan Welch’s vocals soared high and held out a note, Tommy Hawkins would create a melody line accented by the drum beats of Brad Farrow that would push the whole band into an all out blues jam.



Not your typical singer-songwriter, Dan Welch’s original songs leave you wanting more. Catchy, well-sung lyrics, and a groove from his acoustic guitar, lay the foundation for Tommy Hawkins to perform his Strat-magic in perfect harmony with the drumming of Brad Farrow. At times, Welch would strum sparse chords letting Hawkins run wild with a flurry of notes pouring out of his lead guitar. As the tension would build up to one peak after he next, the band would stop on a dime and move into a subtle R & B groove and take the audience in a different direction entirely.



Tommy Hawkins proved himself to not be just a guitarist but a well-rounded musician too as he took over the vocal role for the band on two songs; a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “You’re Missing” and an original. Dan Welch played simple two note melodies behind the vocals on the Bruce Springsteen cover song and stepped aside as Hawkins showed his versatility by playing rhythm guitar, lead guitar and singing at the same time.



After the first band, Daniel Ball Jr. took the stage to close out the evening with his original, ambient music. The first few songs had the help of Tommy Hawkins on lead guitar, filling out the sound. An interesting guitarist, Daniel Ball Jr. can only be described as John Tesh on an acoustic guitar with faster strumming. Creating his own version of acoustic new age music, Ball used a loop pedal to create the illusion of a full band. He strummed chords into the loop pedal and it repeatedly played back those chords while he picked single notes over the top or sang lyrics.



A different style entirely from Dan Welch and his band, Daniel Ball Jr. created what one listener called “mood music” to close out the night of music at Spot Coffee. Loud, and even shouting at times, Ball tried to convey the emotions of his songs to the small audience by increasing the volume. Every muscle in his body seemed to go into punching the sound of his acoustic guitar out of the sound system. And so ended another night of music at one of Rochester’s coffee shops.

- GroundScore


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

TOMMY HAWKINS

It is rare to find a consummate musician that can tap a provocative continuum of creativity while embracing the purity of his craft. Driven by a passion born of living, guitarist, singer and songwriter Tommy Hawkins is living the dream. With heart-crafted melodies that seize the soul and linger long after the music has left his guitar, Hawkins’ tasteful fusion of swanky lead licks, thought-provoking lyrics and alluring vocals reach places in the heart most artist’s dream of going.

His performances stagger the imagination as his in-your-face affair with his music brings his comfort zone to the stage, and makes sheer talent look as effortless as an eagle riding the wind. This is a guy who loves what he does and does what he loves. Wearing the influences of masters such as Clapton, Stevie Ray and Dylan like a mantle, Tommy Hawkins is a presence, not a performance that plays from between the lines of life and opens his arms to all who would embrace him there.

The guy’s got game and a resume to prove it. He enhances his artistic depth with a panoramic breadth that includes an eclectic mix of genres and mediums from singing in an award-winning choir to more than a decade of endless rehearsing as a lead guitarist and 18 years working the drum kit.

When he steps on stage Hawkins’ haunting compositions and bleeding vocals charm, challenge, and change people as he unwraps the rare gift of baring his unclad soul through his craft. And while some guitarists reveal their artistic dexterity rifting throughout a song, not so with Tommy Hawkins. His lead lines transform a musical piece into a masterpiece that turns an otherwise bland melodic cloth into a vivid, spellbinding tapestry. To hear him is to know him as he weaves the cry of the human heart through each song making it an event that leaves listeners just a little more real and a lot more amazed. Tommy Hawkins is the next real thing!