Just as with the Arts & Crafts compilation album, X (please see my post on March 3, 2020, for the fantastic track from it, “Lonely Is as Lonely Does”), which I bought in the 2013 festive season, I picked up Ron Hawkins and the Do Good Assassins’ album, Garden Songs while on Christmas holidays in 2015. On December 31, to be exact.
I believe I heard songs from Garden Songs on CBC, though can’t recall for sure. I may also have come across it on Twitter, as I occasionally used to find music through posts by the artists or by folks who enjoyed their music and shared it. Being on Twitter, as I’ve mentioned before, just wasn’t worth all the toxic swill I had to wade through to get to the good content; and there certainly was quite a bit of the latter; don’t get me wrong.
I seem to remember buying two or three tracks separately, then realized I liked them so much I used the iTunes function, “complete my album,” and downloaded the remainder. While I don’t often sit and listen to an entire album, I do that quite often with Garden Songs.
I knew nothing about Hawkins and still don’t know much, though researching him today, learned he’s from Toronto and has played with the Do Good Assassins, as well The Lowest of the Low, and solo projects. Garden Songs is his most recent release with the Do Good Assassins. He’s also produced albums for other bands and is a painter, mostly portraits, from a look at his website. His painting style varies from lifelike portraits to some that are slightly obscure, though all have a lot of character and artistry to them.
Garden Songs is a solid album; most of it is at a reasonably relaxed pace, very easy to listen to or have playing unobtrusively in the background, but nicely sung with a just a hint of a drawl, and warmly instrumented and produced. The song, “Propellers” starts slowly with piano and guitar, then cranks up the electric guitars a little more. “Kingdom of the Sun” is a song I favour a little more than the others, maybe because I think it encourages us to “keep (our) friends and family close,” and ends with a little encouragement that things will turn out. There’s a smattering of cuss words throughout the album, but the way Hawkins uses them, it’s like he’s just talking with his best and oldest friend.
Musically, I think my favourite song is today’s selection, “Peace and Quiet,” which starts with and is carried by a cello, then brings in the other instruments. While the song’s meaning is a little uncertain to me, I think it’s about the ups and downs of relationships and, ultimately, the idea of trying again when things go wrong, always striving for harmony and no arguments or, peace and quiet, as the title suggests. It’s sung and played beautifully.
“If you don your widest eyes
I’ll say “never say never”
If you don your widest eyes
Time will change the weather
This time we’ll get it right”
(from “Peace and Quiet,” by Ron Hawkins)
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official audio from the Ron Hawkins and the Do Good Assassins YouTube channel: