LISTEN UP! Heyward Howkins ‘The Hale & Hearty’
Released earlier this year, HEYWARD HOWKINS debut effort The Hale & Hearty is a mature record of cooing vocals and inventive instrumentation that any listener not already smitten with the singer-songwriter should adore.
In The Hale & Hearty the Philly-based Howkins works with notions of connectivity, with others but also with the time and place of immediate surroundings; which is underscored by the sense of totally being outside these relationships. This idiosyncrasy often allows song to ironically mock an insider attitude, while also looking on with rose coloured glasses from outside.
While the vocals very much stand up as the star of this album, the instruments never fall to the background. There is never a sense that the arrangements are ever there just to service the lyrics, or that they are run-of-the-mill. Instead we are treated to a texture and surprises in the melodies, the rhythms and in the shifting tempos. This is a departments that is no doubt also aided by the instrumental pairings; mostly acoustic, when you start to hear the ukulele and the trombone, the heart stings will pull.
All in all, this is a really sophisticated and addictive album to listen to. It is a contemporary American folk album that never falls into the trappings of being whiny or naff, instead totally embracing instruments and sounds in a way that harmonises with Howkins‘ distinctive lyrics, and vocals. Overall. this is just a beautiful album that shows Howkins as a serious new voice, and one with a distinctive point of view.
Heyward Howkins‘ The Hale & Hearty is out now, check it out in full HERE
For future tour details check out Heyward Howkins OFFICIAL WEBSITE.
Words by Luke Letourneau