Christopher Hawley releases new album full of ‘Stories’
Band will play Friday in Promontory
Although rock singer and songwriter Christopher Hawley hails from Venice, California, he plays in Park City so much that he could easily pass as a part-time resident.
In fact, Hawley did toss around the idea to move to the Wasatch Back 11 years ago.
“It was October and I was thinking about the beginning of the ski season and the people I connected with up to then,” Hawley told The Park Record. “While I didn’t make the move, it was tempting.”
These days, the guitarist comes to the Beehive state at least three times a year.
“I try to come twice in the winter and come back in the summer as well,” he said.
This week will mark his summer appearance. Hawley will fly into to Salt Lake on Thursday with his band the Rollers and play at Gracies that night.
On Friday, Christopher Hawley Rollers will perform at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 21, at the Shed, at Promontory, 8578 Ranch Club Drive. And then the band will head to the Mystic Hot Springs Music Festival on Sunday.
The concerts will feature some vintage Hawley tunes, as well as some new ones culled from his album “Stories” that was released three weeks ago.
The album was co-written and co-produced by Hawley’s long-time friend Randy Wooten.
“We met 14 or 15 years ago,” Hawley said. “I was helping a friend move, and she had heard about someone who was giving away some furniture to clear out a garage space.”
Wooten was the guy giving away the furniture, and Hawley and he started up a conversation about music.
“A few weeks later, we ran into each other in Tucson, where we played a show on the same night in the same venue,” Hawley said. “When we got back to Venice, we kept in touch and that garage space he cleared out eventually became a studio, where I recorded three of my albums.”
The two started writing songs a few years into their friendship.
“One day I came in and said I have this idea for a song and it’s called ‘Tecate on an Hot Day,’ and Randy immediately said, ‘I know how that song is going to go,’“ Hawley said with a laugh. “In about 20 minutes we finished the song, and, since then, we have written 40 or 50 additional songs. A few of them have appeared on some of my past albums.”
The new album, “Stories,” emerged from an idea Wooten had three years ago.
“One day, he said, ‘Let’s make an album of the songs we have worked on together,’“ Hawley said. “Then he said, ‘I’ll produce it.’“
Hawley liked the idea, especially since Wooten would be the producer.
“It’s a blessing to have, especially in this case, Randy as a producer, because it took some weight off of my shoulders, so I could just focus on making music,” he said. “Randy was the one who was dealing with the restraints of the studio. It was nice to put my parts down and leave the rest to his sensibilities.”
Wooten beefed up the compositions by adding piano, background vocals and even a French horn to one of the songs.
“It was great, because I would go back to the studio to hear the tracks and they would be full of surprises,” Hawley said. “He had stuff that I would have never thought of.”
Deciding on the track list was simple.
“We went through the song list and I checked some of ones that I was currently playing that had been getting some good response,” Hawley said. “There were a couple of songs that we didn’t select, such as one called ‘Rolling Through Carolina.’ It’s a fun track, but we decided to leave it off the album and save it for later.”
Hawley said the songs on “Stories” feel more personal and introspective than the songs on his other albums.
“The lyrics are also more philosophical, especially on the title track and on the song called ‘Josephine,’” he said. “The songs are more moody than what I’ve written in the past. And that is definitely the result of collaborating with Randy.
“I also think it’s because my songwriting has evolved. I always like music that has a good vibe and is uplifting. That’s what I lean toward. I think the introspective side is coming out more.”
Writing with Wooten is an inspiring experience for Hawley.
“It’s different every time, but usually I would bring in a concept or a snippet and he will take it and run,” Hawley said. “Many times we’d be in the room with our guitars and I’d be trying to keep up with the lyrics that he would prolifically keep creating.
I enjoy working with someone who has a lot of great ideas that come out all the time.”
“Stories” is available on iTunes, Amazon.com and Spotify.
“I think it’s everywhere that digital music is distributed,” Hawley said. “I will have some copies with me at the concerts.”
Christopher Hawley Rollers will perform at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 21, at the Shed at Promontory, 8578 Ranch Club Drive. The band will also perform on Thursday, July 20, at Gracies in Salt Lake City and on Sunday, July 23, at Mystic Hot Springs Music Festival in Monroe. For information about Christopher Hawley, visit http://www.christopherhawley.net.
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Members of the Newcomers of Greater Park City will get a chance to learn about restaurateur and philanthropist Bill White when gives the keynote speech at its annual membership luncheon on Sept. 11.