Music can be many things to many people. Music can be enjoyed for pure entertainment, it can make you think, it may call you to question your actions, perhaps join you in celebrations, and even commiserate with you over your losses. In the case of the multi-talented Hawksley Workman and his album ‘Treeful of Starling’, we examine fundamental questions of humanity, the value of material things, and the passage of time on geological time scales.
The Canadian singer-songwriter has certainly been ambitious in the subject matter of his latest album, but one listen is all that is required to realise that he has pulled off the unbelievable in grand style and with sublime sophistication.
‘You Are Too Beautiful’ is a heartfelt introspectively focussed song delivered with a velvety smooth vocal. Workman’s voice conveys fragility and beauty and is at times truly breathtaking in its delicacy. ‘You And The Candles’ examines what life would be like if we were stripped back to simply being people, without money, without cars and without electricity. This is a deeply evocative song which charges listeners with a call to reclaim the day and the night for themselves away from society’s artificial constraints.
Changing the musical landscape with ‘When These Mountains Were The Seashore’, Workman addresses the passage of time, as the world changes from the simple to the complicated, all delivered with a country edge. The album closes with ‘Ice Age’ an emotively layered song which takes listeners on a lyrical journey. The song conveys aching beauty and romantic tones, with Workman’s vocals showcased to their full potential, demonstrating his amazing range.
Music can often address trivial concerns of little consequence, but on this album Workman raises questions of people, society and the world in a way which may just help listeners on their journey throughout life. For people who enjoy music on an epic scale, who want to be entertained and challenged by new musical frontiers, the world of Hawksley Workman is here to be explored.