Hawktail is the instrumental acoustic quartet of fiddler Brittany Haas, bassist Paul Kowert, guitarist Jordan Tice, and mandolinist Dominick Leslie. Though at first glance it looks like an acoustic superpicker side-project, their all-original music is cohesive and unique, distinguishing them as an ensemble with a sound built from the ground up. Flush with orchestral sweeps and sparse vigils, with strains of the American South and the North Atlantic, this cosmopolitan sound is not what you’d expect from a string band.
Each member of Hawktail brings a strong individuality to the project. Haas, whose 2004 self-titled release instantly became the touchstone for a generation of old-time fiddlers, has since lent her sound to Crooked Still, Live From Here, Steve Martin, and David Rawlings, where she played alongside Kowert, well known as the Grammy-winning Punch Brothers’ virtuosic bass player. Tice is a rare guitar player whose music showcases his unique identity and a particular knack for song and tune-writing, and Leslie is a versatile mandolinist whose rhythmic sensibility has made him ubiquitous on the acoustic music scene for over a decade. However, despite each of their ability to contribute to many musical situations, something special happens when they unite as Hawktail. Together, they have fostered a reputation as a rare ensemble of composers and instrumentalists able to take the listener on a journey, without the use of words.
The release of Hawktail’s new record Formations comes just over a year after their debut, Unless. Unlike the arduous 3-plus year process of writing and recording Unless, Formations came about quickly -- written in 2 months and recorded in 4 days at Southern Ground Studios in Nashville. “We had studio dates to record a quick EP of covers, arrangements we’d been playing live,” explains Kowert, “but we had these strong starts that felt so good that we were like ‘let’s finish THESE instead.’” Adds Haas, “we found a new joy in creating, tapping into the experience we gained from writing and recording Unless.”
This new energy is largely due to Leslie’s presence from the inception of Formations. Says Leslie, “our first album had more or less been written by the time I joined the band, so it was more about finding a complementary part. On Formations I was there for the writing, which resulted in the mandolin having a fundamental role in the music.” Tice adds, “it’s gotten easier to make music since we became a quartet; now we’re able to be more spontaneous.” Kowert elaborates, “having the strong rhythmic component of the mandolin gave agency to our new ideas, and the extra voice greatly increased musical staging possibilities. We’re able to embrace things like bluegrass rhythm and twin fiddle, and also to build some pieces around a more complex rhythm, now an equal ingredient in the compositions.”
7pm doors – 8pm show | $20 adv. – $25 day of
Please read our message to our One Longfellow Square community re: Covid-19 Protocols:
We are very excited to begin hosting live music shows in our listening room in October. OLS is committed to providing a safe environment for all who work, listen, or perform live music in our venue. Because our venue is so small, we will require all staff, volunteers, performers, and patrons to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 when they attend OLS events AND to wear masks indoors unless they are actively drinking, eating, or performing.
Proof of vaccine must come directly from the health care provider that performed the vaccination and can be a photo or physical copy of the vaccination card or record with an accompanying photo ID. Full vaccination means that the date of the performance you are attending is:
* at least 14 days after your second dose of an FDA or WHO authorized two dose COVID-19 vaccine, or
* at least 14 days after your single dose of an FDA or WHO authorized single dose COVID vaccine.
We hope we can ease these restrictions once further progress has been made reducing transmission of the virus. Until then we greatly appreciate your patience and cooperation.