by Jonathan Aird
Well, this is pretty exciting – the I See Hawks In L.A. frontman has a new solo album coming on October 20th. It’s called ‘See The Big Man Cry‘ and was produced by Carla Olson. Rob and Carla have a history of musical collaboration, their duet of ‘Bossier City’ appeared on I See Hawks in L.A.’s ‘Shoulda Been Gold’ in 2010, Waller was a featured artist on two songs on Olson’s ‘Have Harmony, Will Travel’ in 2013, and the two have long enjoyed singing together at shows around L.A. For the album Carla and A&R man Saul Davis pulled tunes from across the musical landscape to feature Waller’s vocal range from deep baritone to upper tenor, as Davis notes: “If you like Raul Malo, Gene Pitney, or Randy Travis you will love this album. If you like the Cactus Blossoms, Jamestown Revival or the Milk Carton Kids you will love this album.” We’d probably add “if you love I See Hawks In L.A. (and who doesn’t?) then you’ll dig this album.”
Rob Waller told Americana UK how this song made it onto the album: “‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’ was one of the first songs Saul Davis suggested to me for this record. Long a Walker Brothers fan, I was into it immediately. I was excited to try dynamically stretching my voice both physically and emotionally in all the ways the song demands. I’m thrilled with how it all turned out, especially the back up vocals and strings arrangement.”
An added bonus is the people playing on the album, including a bonafide Byrd and a Long Ryder – and we don’t need to remind you dear music obsessive reader about Carla Olson, now do we? Musicians on the album include Waller’s Hawks cohorts Paul Lacques and Paul Marshall as well as John York (The Byrds, Doug Sahm), Benjamin Lecourt (The Wallflowers), Skip Edwards (Dave Alvin, Dwight Yoakam), Stephen McCarthy (The Long Ryders, The Jayhawks), Mike Clinco, Matt Von Roderick and Kaitlin Wolfberg. Freddie Hart’s original pedal steel player JD Walters adds his signature sound. Harmony vocals were sung by Gia Ciambotti (Lucinda Williams, Bruce Springsteen) and Gregg Sutton (Joe Cocker, Barry Goldberg) as well as by Carla Olson.
Dave Alvin has called the Hawks “one of California’s unique treasures” and MOJO magazine named them “the finest country rock band on the planet.” Here at Americana UK we’re a bit more restrained, just handing them 10/10 album reviews like they’re smarties and raving about their live performances (which have been sadly lacking in the UK of late).