Envision and believe in your own universe, and it will eventually form around you. The HawtThorns are reimagining their universe in their latest recording adventures. The sun-kissed songwriting, deft guitar work, and lush vocal harmonies that have been at the core of their sound are exponentially magnified through the lens of their upcoming record, Zero Gravity. This 3rd album from the Nashville-based duo includes 11 songs recorded at The Studio Nashville owned by The Wood Brothers and was performed by some of Nashville’s most accomplished musicians.
Zero Gravity is a sonic trip into deeply felt personal experiences, abstract storytelling, and
adventurous, genre-bending productions. The HawtThorns love for guitars is apparent on this
record, as the layers of variously toned and textured electric and acoustic instruments are as
much a part of the songwriting as are the lyrics. The interplay between far-out keyboard tracks and Johnny Hawthorn’s syncopated guitar hooks and riffs deliberately creates a unique appeal for each of the tracks. The music beds enhance KP’s fearless, wistfully honeyed lead vocals - recorded live, with the band directly to 2-inch tape.
Musical director and bass player Ted Pecchio (Doyle Bramhall II, Oliver Wood) assembled the band for the sessions, which included Jano Rix (Wood Brothers) on all keys and Nick Buda (Kenny Chesney) on drums. Lastly, singer-songwriter Alice Wallace also contributed harmonies on The Everly Brothers song, “When Will I Be Loved”.
The title track, “Zero Gravity”, embodies the venturesome spirit of the record. A “power ballad”, the song begins with a stripped-down production that includes spacey keyboard sounds and acoustic guitar with a demure, wispy vocal. It continues to build in intensity and volume, with the peak being the guitar solo, akin to a Ziggy Stardust-era Mick Ronson performance. The entire song is played over a salsa clave beat that never quits, while lyrically, it is a story of coming to terms with losing a soul mate.
“Nothing But A Shadow” and “Hands On A Clock” nod to Americana and Alt-country in format but have a pop flair and convivial daringness throughout. Other tracks, “Trouble” and “Faking It”, lean into indie-pop and convey an amount of sarcasm in theme while still possessing the chime and sparkle expected in a HawtThorns production. Overall, the band has offered an eclectic group of tunes on Zero Gravity that stylistically span the musical solar system. With new recordings come inspired live performances and fresh, brave style. The HawtThorns are exploring every aspect of expression with the new release, out in April 2024 via Red Parlor Records.
KP and Johnny Hawthorn, have had celebrated careers that started in LA’s singer-songwriter and Alt-Country scenes. Between the two, they have hundreds of recordings heard on network and cable TV, and film. KP co-founded LA’s CALICO the band while Johnny fronted his own band and played in legacy acts, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Everclear. Their common ground has been the starting point for a sum greater than it’s parts, an inspired combination of songwriting, vocals and guitar work.
There has been no shortage of praise. PopMatters declared, “Dynamite duo who aim to pull up their roots, stick by their guns and bring back the sounds of the Laurel Canyon in the 1960’s, the British invaders of the ’70’s and the cosmic cowboys still twirling through time and space” The Alternate Root stated “a perfect blend of melody and magic, one that incorporates the sunny sounds of classic California Rock blended with the rich resonant sounds of today’s Americana musical environs” and Americana Highways effused “The HawtThorns make songwriting look easy.”
An interstellar superhighway through the constellations of Americana, Alt-Country, and Rock ‘n Roll will leave The HawtThorns floating in Zero Gravity this Spring.