Every good western song tells a story

Until one day he got to wondering what his favourite bands liked to listen to when they weren’t playing concerts or sitting in the recording studio. That’s when he dis- covered good ol’ country & western music. “I wanted to find the roots of all this,” he said, while Waylon Jennings sings about tough times on the stereo. “These are sto- ries, country & western. They’re not all just love ballads. I never looked back after that.” Those are the kind of songs he writes and sings on his album. Every song tells a story. “I’ve been a long-haul trucker,” he said. “That helps me with my songwriting. When I was driving, I had my guitar with me and a scratch pad.” He grins when he talks about some of the songs featured on his debut album. “I’m old style but with a new twist on things. It’s got that traditional country-western feel but there’s also a modern touch.” The last song on the album, “I Dug My Heels (in Flanders Fields)” is a tribute to his grandfather, who fought in World War Two, and to family members killed in action dur¬ing the Korean War. Hawk’s plans now are divided between going on local concert gigs with his band, Double-Odd Buck, putting together anoth- er album under the band’s name, and writ- ing more songs to tell the stories he knows. “I think people, in the end, they really like to hear story songs,’” he said. “It’s real life.”

the Hawks were playing. I thought ‘That’s a good name.’ So I ran with it.” With his first album out, the self-titled Éric Michael Hawks, his new career in country- western seems to be taking flight like a hawk, fast and furious. Folks seem to enjoy listening to his songs as much as he enjoys writing and singing them. He’s getting air- play, both on regular FM radio and through the Internet stations, and he’s starting to make an impression on the European coun- try-western music scene, with some nice early reviews of his album. Which is all good. Though it might have gone another way and he might have been going head-to-head with the current tidal wave of would-be Canadian and American pop idols fighting for their 15 nanoseconds of YouTube fame. “I wasn’t born in country music,” he said, smiling. “My father’s music was the Su- premes, Elvis, Del Shannon, Roy Orbison and such. The closest thing we had to coun- Lor’s Holistic Health Treatments

try music was Gordon Lightfoot.” Like a lot of teenagers back then, he grew up on rock music. The bands he and his mates knew by name were ZZ Top, the All- man Brothers, and most likely anyone from the Muscle Shoals region.


CLARENCE CREEK | Éric Michael Hawks wasn’t born listening to country and west- ern music. But it may be that he was born to play it. The 36-year-old Clarence Creek native’s actual family name is Sanscartier. When he decided to take a chance and hang his hat on the country music wind, he also figured he maybe needed a stage name that fit the bill for him. “We were kicking names around,” he said. “It was important to me to keep my first two names so we had to find something short and sweet.” In what may seem typical Canadian fash- ion, a hockey game gave Sanscartier his professional country-western name. “I was in Hawkesbury at the arena when

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