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Brother Hawk – Big Trouble Sessions (EP) Award winner

Brother Hawk
Big Trouble Sessions (EP)
by Dave Nowels at 29 December 2019, 6:58 AM

Well, this was completely, absolutely completely unexpected. Admittedly despite not wanting too, I often pre-judge a book by it's cover. In this case, it was the particular inclusion of a pair of distinctive cover songs on BROTHER HAWK's EP “Big Trouble Sessions”. I mean come on….when a pair of covers such as ALICE IN CHAIN's “Nutshell” and even more striking, SOUNDGARDEN's “Fell On Black Days” take up two tracks of a four track EP, I'm not expecting much. I was actually trying to brace myself; to prepare myself to try to express my disappointment as positively and professionally as possible. Let this be a lesson I take to heart. BROTHER HAWK straight up punched me hard, right in the feelings with not only both striking and emotive covers, but also on their two originals, “Like Water” and “The Black Dog”.

BROTHER HAWK roosts in their home base of Atlanta, and that has to be a key element in their soulful and reaching sound. The band has a handful of previously released Eps full-lengths and live releases available via their website and Bandcamp page. So many in fact that I don't have a clue how they've missed my radar to this point. The “Big Rouble Sessions” EP was recorded live, appropriately at Big Trouble Studio in Atlanta on March 22, 2019 and engineered, mastered and mixed by TJ Elias. “Like Water” begins the EP, and it's slow swampy and chock full of soul. It's got an epic like feel to it overall, a song that would provide a fitting soundtrack for the end of days. The other original, “The Black Dog” takes on a bluesier approach, but still feels earthy and rooted in a southern soul that lives and breathes.

Of the two covers, I was drawn to the creative approach of ALICE IN CHAIN's 1994 “Nutshell” from their “Jar Of Flies” release. BROTHER HAWK have taken the song apart, dissected it, and crafted it anew. It's simply a beautiful take on a well known song given a new, fresh interpretation. It's not that the version of SOUNDGARDEN's classic “Fell On Black Days” is any less impressive, it's just that the song is so well known, and less resistant to re-interpretation. So with that in mind, the song while perfectly rendered, is more a straight up cover. Still, it's worth a listen.

BROTHER HAWK has something special about them. Their sound is earthy and rich, and Brisendine's vocals are honest, powerful, soulful and compelling. The musicianship is top notch and memorable with a feel of a band that's ready to unleash at any moment. BROTHER HAWK's definitely not a band I would label as Metal, and maybe not even necessarily Hard Rock. It's a band and vibe that will definitely appeal to a much wider audience, and absolutely should get that opportunity. I loved this EP, with the only complaint being it's brevity. Looks like I need to dive in deeper to their catalog, and encourage you to do the same.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Like Water
2. Nutshell (Alice In Chains cover)
3. The Black Dog
4. Fell On Black Days (Soundgarden cover)
J.B. Brisendine – Vocals, Guitar
Nick Johns-Cooper – Keys, Vocals
James Fedigan – Bass
Evan Diprima – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 08 June 2023

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