March 20, 2018
Hawktail to Release Debut Album Unless on May 11
Brittany Haas (fiddle), Paul Kowert (bass), Jordan Tice (guitar),
and Dominick Leslie (mandolin) form acoustic supergroup
Fretboard Journal premieres title track, listen here
Nashville, TN — March 20 — Hawktail (Haas Kowert Tice Leslie) are pleased to announce the release of their debut album, Unless, produced by Chris Eldridge (The Punch Brothers), available everywhere on May 11. Today, Fretboard Journal names Hawktail as one of their “favorite new groups” and premieres the album’s title track “Unless” — listen here.
This album is a mixture of recordings from a studio (House of Blues in Nashville, TN), a church (Downtown Presbyterian in Nashville, TN), their bassist’s house, and two live shows (recorded in California at Harlow’s in Sacramento and The Old Steeple in Ferndale).
The band’s beginnings were simple: Haas Kowert Tice asked the question, what if? After forging their own brand of roots music—one grounded in timeless tradition, crafted by top-shelf musicianship, and performed with jubilant comradery—the question emerged. What if this trio of America’s finest string players became a quartet?
Brittany 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, Michael Daves, and David Rawlings, where she plays alongside Paul Kowert, well known as Punch Brothers’ virtuosic bass player. Jordan Tice is a rare guitar player whose music showcases his unique identity and a particular knack for tune-writing.
Enter Dominick Leslie, the versatile mandolinist whose rhythmic sensibility has made him ubiquitous on the acoustic music scene (Noam Pikelny, The Deadly Gentlemen, Brotet). The trio wanted the rhythmic backbone he offered and another plectrum to balance the dueling bows of bass and fiddle. His addition thickened the sound and tightened the groove, opening new creative doors.
Reborn a foursome, they recorded Unless, Hawktail’s debut. “It feels as though this is now a whole band capable of doing anything,” says Haas. “The music of Unless represents hours of creation, founded on our years as close friends. And I think you can hear that,” she continues. Kowert adds, “We strove to write strong tunes that could take us to different places while holding to a simple form, for a natural music that breathes. Melodies and basslines arrived together with a core sound, and arrangements seemed encoded in the tunes.”
With Unless, Hawktail has delivered an album of original instrumental music that showcases their unique talents. The inclusiveness of that extends beyond the speakers: a finger on the string, a rush of energy when you didn’t expect it – this is music made to be enjoyed.
They began touring together as Hawktail in November ‘17 (during which the three live tracks on Unlesswere recorded). This April, they will tour heavily in support of the new album, with noteworthy stops at Savannah Music Festival, Club Passim, Club Helsinki, and Rams Head On Stage, among other legendary acoustic listening rooms. Onward from there, they will perform at various festivals this summer and beyond.
April 4 – Savannah Music Festival – Savannah, GA
April 5 – Cafe Eleven – St. Augustine, FL
April 6 – Blue Jay Listening Room – Jacksonville, FL
April 8 – Reeves Theater – Elkin, NC
April 16 – Rockwood Music Hall (stage 2) – New York, NY
April 17 – The Parlor Room – Northampton, MA
April 18 – Club Helsinki – Hudson, NY
April 19 – Club Passim – Cambridge, MA
April 20 – The Pump House – South Kingstown, RI
April 21 – Center for the Arts of Homer – Homer, NY
April 22 – Rams Head On Stage – Annapolis, MD
April 23 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
April 25 – Space Ballroom – Hamden, CT
June 16 – Clear Creek RapidGrass Bluegrass Festival – Idaho Springs, CO
Aug. 3 – Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival – Madison, WI
Sept. 28/29 – Lotus World Music & Arts Festival – Bloomington, IN