40 Below Records
The Perfect Soundtrack For a Charming Country Saturday Night
While the masculine half of this charming duo, Johnny Hawthorn previously was a member of Toad the Wet Sprocket and had his previous solo albums compared to Hendrix; I’m pleased to tell you that the female half, singer-songwriter KP aka Kirsten Proffit, who had some of her solo songs featured in Friday Night Lights and more pertinently Dawson’s Creek, is the dominant force to what is about to become the default album in Mrs. Magpie’s car this Summer.
Johnny’s crunching guitar kick starts the album on Shaking; but as soon as Kirsten’s velvety voice comes in to the mix, the sun comes out and you will feel you are sitting on the pier alongside Casey and Dawson with a Miller Lite each as the sun slowly sets.
The vast majority of songs here come from either KP and/or Johnny with RMHQ Favourite Ted Russell Kamp turning up on the co-write All I Know, which sees the couple duetting and harmonising like they are musical twins; albeit from seperate wombs. Just like everything else here, the lyrics/story and the arrangement are as tight as a fishes bum, with nothing here that shouldn’t be.
Very much from the Californian School of Country, all of the songs here shimmer and shine in one way or another; even the tearjerkers Broken Wings and the title track Morning Sun, which still end on a note of hope.
There’s nothing to choose between KP or Johnny’s songs, both write from the heart and they are come across as something of an ‘opposites attract’ couple; not exactly writing from opposite ends of the love spectrum; but giving two sides to the story?
Personally I love the Eagles inspired (?) Country Rockers Rebel Road and The 405, which don’t exactly ‘rock’ but more ‘roll and sway’; and on the latter there’s a distinct hint of Linda Ronstadt in KP’s phrasing…….. which is no bad thing at all.
MORNING SUN ends on a song that initially jarred with me; the almost ‘twee’ Lucky Charm, but yesterday it suddenly dawned on me what a lovely song it actually is, with a jaunty melody, single acoustic guitar and two lovers singing to each other …….. as if they mean it, which is such a rarity these days, it shouldn’t go without mention.
Selecting a Favourite Song hasn’t been easy; as hearing Johnny’s punchy voice and KP’s harmonies on the fabulous Nobody Gives a Damn About Songs Anymore sent shivers down my back; but so does the original by John Moreland, so the actual award goes to The HawtThorns very own Steady Fire which really is Country Rock Deluxe; and yet again sounds like it should be the outro to an episode of something like Dawson’s Creek.
So The HawtThorns have not just found each other, but this fabulous debut album is set to find an audience that appreciates quality music.