"An Americana band whose sun-kissed songwriting, fiery electric guitar, and lush vocal harmonies evoke the California coastline as much as the Bible Belt countryside, the HawtThorns are rooted in the collaborative chemistry of husband-and-wife duo KP and Johnny Hawthorn." - Rolling Stone Country
Before forming their band in Los Angeles and relocating to Nashville, the Hawthorns both enjoyed acclaimed careers of their own, leaving their marks upon the intersecting worlds of rock, country, and pop music. California native KP (formerly Kirsten Proffit) launched her solo career with 2006's Lucky Girl, a singer/songwriter record whose tracks found their way onto TV shows like Friday Night Lights and Dawson's Creek. By 2012, she was also touring the country with Jaime Wyatt and Manda Mosher as a member of CALICO, a trio of songwriters whose warm, nostalgic sound nodded to Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, and other icons of California's country-rock golden days. The group hit the ground running, playing 200 shows during their first year together. CALICO was a true collaboration, too — a group whose members shared songwriting and singing duties — but after two albums together (both of which were co-produced by Kirsten), the band called it quits. The grind of the road had taken its toll. Besides, KP had become excited about collaborating with another musician: guitar slinger Johnny Hawthorn.
As a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, lead guitarist, and record producer, Johnny had already performed with bands like Toad the Wet Sprocket and Everclear by the time he crossed paths with KP at the Cinema Bar in Culver City, CA. He'd also released three albums as a solo artist, with Guitar Player Magazine likening his phrasing to Jimi Hendrix and his vocal melodies to the Eagles. The connection between KP and Johnny was immediate, and the two spent their first date playing songs together. Before long, they were writing songs of their own — melodic music that made room for KP's voice, Johnny's guitar, and plenty of collaboratively-written hooks. The two became newlyweds, too, their sound mirroring the mutual respect and reverence found in their marriage.
Morning Sun marked the HawtThorns' official debut in 2019. An amped-up Americana album for guitar enthusiasts and singer/songwriter fans alike, the record balanced its creators' backgrounds, finding room for lap steel guitar, strings, organ, thickly-stacked coed harmonies, and heartland hooks. It also emphasized the HawtThorns' emphasis on community, with co-production from Ernie Corne (founder of Forty Below Records) and additional contributions from Sasha Smith, Kaitlin Wolfberg, Arthur Barrow, Steve Berns, Matt Lucich, and Eliot Lorango.
When the KP and Johnny moved to Nashville in early 2020, they carried that spirit with them. KP, as a co-owner of the independent record label Mule Kick Records, they helped champion other artists whose music — like the HawtThorns' own songs — blurred the boundaries between multiple genres. As (KP) creator/producer of the upcoming documentary "Palomania," they highlighted the long-lasting reach of an historic music venue. And with a cover of Tom Petty's "Time to Move On" — released in 2021, following a year spent indoors due to the Covid-19 pandemic — they say goodbye to the challenges of the past and looking forward to a bigger, brighter future.
Moving on is hard. It's uncertain. Few artists have learned that lesson better than KP and Johnny, who've spent more than a dozen years weathering the ups and downs of the music industry. They've tapped into a new beginning with the HawtThorns, though, and the horizon — including a return to the road, as well as a second full-length album in late 2021 — is looking bright. Here's to fresh starts.