Greg Hawks pays homage to his Blue Ridge Mountain roots in his new album, Coming Home, with 14 songs of hard-driving bluegrass, soulful country singing, and thoughtful songwriting. Hawks' versatile harmonies blend seamlessly with banjo, fiddle, guitar, pedal steel, and mandolin to tell stories of love, loss, faith, and redemption. While Coming Home has a distinctly modern sound, it's firmly rooted in Brothers-style mountain harmony (think Louvins, Osbornes, Stanleys, and Jim and Jesse); straight-ahead bluegrass (think Jimmy Martin, Stanley Brothers, and J.D. Crowe); and real country (think Merle, Hank, Lefty, and Jones). Along with 11 originals, Hawks offers a lively version of the fiddle tune "Temperance Reel" and completes the record with a vocal quartet of the gospel "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me" and an original instrumental, "There You Go." Born in Mount Airy, N.C., Hawks hails from a long line of Scots-Irish who settled the foothills of the Blue Ridge in the 1700s. "To this day, when I hear that pure mountain harmony," Hawks says, "it cuts all the way through me. I never knew other music existed until my family moved. I remember people outside Mount Airy laughing because I said Buck Owens was better than The Beatles." After several years of rock and roll and country bands, Hawks released his first CD, Fool's Paradise, to local and national acclaim. This album of ten originals and two covers (including a version of Springsteen's "Tougher Than the Rest") delivers hard-edged, rocking country in the spirit of the Bakersfield sound of Owens and Haggard and the classic country rock sound of Gram Parsons and The Everly Brothers. Hawks then pursued a new album devoted to the two and three-part harmonies of string and bluegrass music. Several life changes - the birth of his son, the death of his father, and a return to faith -- inspired original songs such as "Simple Pleasures," "What's Your Hurry," and the title track, "Coming Home." Backed by his own bass, guitar, mandolin, and banjo, Hawks balances traditional sounds with modern themes. He also calls on the talents of local musicians such as Rick LaFleur, Daniel Aldridge (Constant Change), Steve Watson, and Steve Fraleigh (2005 Galax winner). Coming Home brings Hawks full circle, a return to tradition that he says feels right and real. "It's my journey back to my roots," Hawks says. "I read once that Ralph Stanley said he never called his music anything other than mountain music or good ol' country music. That's where I belong."
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