Rising like grievous angels from the ashes of Graham Parsons’ musical pyre, I See Hawks in L.A. is a band of bluegrass bohos from Sin City (where, as we all know, “on the 31st floor, a gold-plated door won’t keep out the lord’s burning rain”) that represents just the latest incarnation of Americana’s country roots blown like tumbleweeds across the arid, apocalyptic landscape of southern California. In other words, the airborne sounds one immediately associates with this Echo Park outfit is not the squawking of Eagles but the tangy tweet of Flying Burritos. I haven’t seen hawks in L.A. myself, not once, and if it’s a strange, clunky band name, it does capture the wingspan of influences riding the plucky breeze of their music. Founded in 2000 by Rob Waller and Paul and Anthony Lacques, the Hawks are wise, wizened and talented musicians, though the overt politics of their lyrics and crystalline, too clean sound occasionally give them the aura of a Humboldt County bar band. The Avett Brothers lite, perhaps? That might be too pissy. We aren’t talking the difference between, say, Kenny G and Miles Davis here, but the Hawks are definitely more polished and competent than innovative or passionately roughed up. Stupid as it is to say, it’s a matter of taste. I like the prog clarity and expert precision of Pink Floyd, but prefer my country and bluegrass to have a swampy, sludgy, more slapdash edge. If, however, you are a fan of the tight harmonies and layered instrumentals of well-made and well-played Western bluegrass, by all means go see the Hawks in Eugene or Cottage Grove. I See Hawks in L.A. take flight at 7:30 pm Thursday, July 1, at Sam Bond’s ($5, 21+) and 9 pm Saturday, July 3, at the Axe & Fiddle, Cottage Grove ($5, 21+). — Rick Levin
An Experiment You Can Dance To
It may seem like an unlikely pairing at first. Eugene’s Forever Growing (pictured) creates a complex and playful sound from shades of jazz, classical and rock. Guitarist Andrew Becker describes the band as a “funk trance jazz fusion trio” with songs meant for dancing. Ashland’s Karrgo Bossajova is a jam band turned melting pot of funk, jazz, blues, heavy metal and psychedelia. “From heavy crunch tones to light harmonic textures to choppy funk rhythms, Karrgo Bossajova has a little bit of everything for everyone and will keep any crowd dancing for hours on end,” says guitarist Blake Norris.
Forever Growing and Karrgo Bossajova first played together at a pizza joint in Ashland. The Eugene show marks their fourth time playing together. When the bands join, they create an entity entirely different than the sum of its parts. “Each band is an element unto itself,” says Norris.
Norris says that Karrgo Bossajova loves combining with other bands because of the improvisational aspect it brings to the performance. “The best part of the two-band experiment is that the music is not strictly pre-determined,” he says. “It’s electrifying to see how different people’s free-flowing ideas can be conglomerated to make something so beautiful and rare.”
The Karrgo Bossajova / Forever Growing Cozmic Duality plays at 7 pm Friday, July 2, at Cozmic Pizza, $3-$10 sliding scale. — Catherine Foss
One Homecoming, Three Shows
Singer and guitarist Lea Jones lived in Eugene for 16 years, from 1975 until 1991, playing in several bands including The Tones (first in 1978), Slow Buck (1976-1980) and as his solo singer-songwriter self he calls Barefoot LeRoy (first in 1989). Jones and his wife moved to Maryland when she took a job there 20 years ago, and though Jones has returned to Eugene to visit regularly, he’s never reunited with his former bandmates … until now.
An odd turn of events shaped the reunion: A man heard one of Jones’s songs, “Integrity,” at a WINGS seminar a couple of years ago, and told Jones that they were using his song. Jones contacted WINGS and asked if they ever hosted concerts. They didn’t, but booked Jones for an acoustic show at one of their events. Meanwhile, Jones’s Slow Buck bandmates got together. They didn’t tell Jones about the meet-up at first, because he was in Maryland, after all. “When I got this WINGS thing together I called the guys up and said, ‘Do you want to give it a shot?’” Jones says. Guitarists Tom Sobieski and Chris Lewis, Mike Kane (fiddle and percussion) and Ed Gunther (sax and flute) said yes.
Slow Buck performs a blend of classic rockabilly, country rock, Texas swing and newgrass songs along with originals, says Jones. While in town, Jones will also be performing a capella doo-wop and Motown with The Tones, and as his folky alter ego, Barefoot Leroy. In Maryland, Jones performs solo regularly and in Swing States Road Show, performing “songs of peace, love and understanding from Bob Wills to Bob Marley,” he says. Slow Buck play at 8 pm Friday, July 2, at Tsunami Books ($10); the Tones play at 8 pm Saturday, July 3, at Tsunami Books ($10); Lea Jones plays at 7 pm Tuesday, July 6, at WINGS Seminars, 275 W. 5th Ave. ($10, a portion of the proceeds benefits WomenSpace).—Vanessa Salvia