The High Hawks CD
The word supergroup gets overused to describe side musical projects, but it's apt and well-earned when it comes to The High Hawks. With nearly 150 years of collective touring and playing between them, Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon), Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth, Blue Sparks From Hell), Chad Staehly (Hard Working Americans), Adam Greuel (Horseshoes & Hand Grenades), Brian Adams (DeadPhish Orchestra) and Will Trask (Great American Taxi) have maintained a generation-spanning presence at the forefront of the roots music scene for over two decades. Indeed, the baker's dozen of songs that make up their debut have the strong identity and cohesiveness of a band three records in to their career. The summery, fiddle-infused opener ''Singing a Mountain Song,'' with its self-referential line - ''Soaring like a highhawk across this mountain top,'' acts as a kind of mission statement for the whole collection. There's a lot of good feeling and optimism in these grooves, from the celestial cowboy vibe of ''White Ridera'' and the revved-up Cash rockabilly of ''Bad Bad Man,'' to the catchy, sauntering ''Do Si Do,'' which sounds like a great lost Grateful Dead track, the spare emotional cover of Woody Guthrie's "Fly High,'' and ''Just Another Stone,'' a moving ode to love's redemptive power. Throughout, the creative hand-offs between four songwriters and four distinct singers all come together to channel influences from bluegrass to folk to reggae to cosmic Americana into a singular, appealing voice.