Have you been Lady Antebellum-ed to death? Sugarland-ed within an inch of your life? Band Perry-ed until you can't think straight? In other words, assaulted with so much pleasant pop-country, you can't take it anymore?
Well, pardner, sounds like you need to be de-programmed.
Mosey down to McCabe's Guitar Shop on Friday and check out I See Hawks In L.A. These dudes do not wear cowboy hats or string ties, nor do they have southern accents. But they possess the spirit of country, more authentically than just about anyone else out there.
"We've played McCabe's more times than I can count," said Hawks' singer and spokesman, Rob Waller. "And each time we do, we seem to get a little better. It's sort of our spiritual home."
Formed in 1999 by Waller and brothers, Paul and Anthony Lacques, I See Hawks In L.A. has been touring and preaching the gospel of country to an growing fan base. It hasn't, as of yet, sold a ton of records. But its members know, that in this area, they are in good company historically-speaking. After all, neither did The Flying Burrito Brothers, Uncle Tupelo, or Poco.
And as with those legendary bands, I See Hawks is having a slow, but seismic effect on the music scene. Plus, some former members of those aforementioned bands are huge fans of Waller and company. Take Chris Hillman of The Byrds and Burritos. Or Richie Furay, who led Poco. He once pitched in to help the Hawks, with hillarious, almost hair-raising results.
"We've shared a few bills with Richie," said Waller. "As you might know, he's a Born-Again Christian and minister. When he's not touring, he has a little church in Colorado, he preaches at. Anyway, one night, when we were sharing the bill in Malibu, the electricity went out--right before the show! We were all freaking. Richie, calm as could be, was backstage and suggested we form a prayer circle. He asked God for his blessings. Plus, a little help with the electricity. Sure enough, it went right back on by prayer's end. As you might imagine, I'll never scoff at Richie again."
In addition to playing Fiday night, this band of California cowpokes is celebrating the release of its new CD, "New Kind Of Lonely." A mostly acoustic, spare, gorgeous recording, it's just the sort of disc made to keep the faithful happy.
Will it break out to the country music audience at large, so these veterans have to show up at the Country Music Awards next year? If Waller is losing sleep over this dilemma, his calm, chuckling, friendly demeanor belies it.
"The record company thing has been very weird for us," he said. "We've been on actual labels before, but it's mostly been just a big headache. The album will be released and instead of focusing on touring and stuff, we just stress. We wonder, 'Where are the ads? Why won't anyone at the record company get back to us?' The music biz is still in the state of reorganizing. Maybe they will indefintely. And it hasn't helped our relationship with labels at all. Plus, we've been with various companies that have just... folded. It's a nightmare, the business aspect of things."
So, how does I See Hawks In L.A. deal, then? Mostly, it depends on the kindness of strangers.
"We do things the old-fashioned way," said Waller. "We tour. There are enough good people all around the world, who love the band and take good care of us. So, we pretty much make things happen by using a grassroots approach."
It's probably a good thing considering there are songs on the new CD with titles like "Big Old Hypodermic Needle," and "I Fell In Love With The Grateful Dead," a large, impersonal record company wouldn't know how to market such strange, wondrous gems anyway. So, I See Hawks In L.A. just goes out and plays for the people, spreading the word with its high-energy, poetic live shows.
Talking with Waller, you get the feeling that he and the group wouldn't have it any other way.
"We're all pretty much road dogs, anyway," he said. "Each time we come back to a spot we played, the people who saw us bring their friends and the audience always seems bigger. So, you know? It's kind of an old-fashioned way to promote your band. But I get the feeling that it's really starting to work for us."
I See Hawks In L.A. will be at McCabe's Guitar Shop 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15. The band will sell copies of its new CD "New Kind Of Lonely." For more information, call (310) 828-4497 or go to mccabes.com.