Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Chuck Hawthorne!
On July 26th, Austin songwriter Chuck Hawthorne will release the follow up to his critically acclaimed 2015 debut, Silver Line…the long awaited full length album, Fire Out of Stone. Stories of Hawthorne’s military career and his chance meeting with Silver Line producer Ray Bonneville may have originally drawn listeners to his music, but songwriting enthusiasts worldwide soon recognized the powerful strength of the songs and voice of Chuck Hawthorne. Since his emergence in the songwriting world, Chuck has toured non-stop in the US and Europe. Winning over audiences everywhere he goes, he has built a solid, loyal fan base and a reputation as a “songwriter’s songwriter.” He has truly found his voice as a performing artist, which has been fully and flawlessly captured in Fire Out Of Stone.
For his sophomore album, Hawthorne turned to Texas songwriting stalwart Walt Wilkins to produce alongside Jumping Dog Studio owner Ron Flynt. The 10-song collection explores themes of transformative survival and healing, which Hawthorne discovered upon receipt of a gift from an Old Friend. In Chuck’s words:
“I’d purposely let a package that had been delivered to the house sit unopened on my workbench for quite some time. I knew the contents. Edith Dobson had thoughtfully sent her late husband’s final album to me from Switzerland. It wasn’t an album I wanted playing in the background as I shuffled around the shop; it deserved a genuine listen with a full spirit. Late one night, after all our traveling musician houseguests made it to bed, I put Richard Dobson’s last record on and discovered the song, ‘I Will Fight No More Forever.’ I probably listened to it 20 times that night.
The next day, I realized Dobson had gifted me the theme of my next album. I started looking into my back catalog selecting songs about survival, transition, and moving on – crucible songs – making Fire Out Of Stone. It turns out I had quite a few to pick from.
Being a huge Walt Wilkins fan and hearing the great work he and Ron Flynt were doing as producers for many Austin artists, I was taken aback when Walt agreed to produce my sophomore record. I’m incredibly honored and fortunate to have worked with Walt and Ron. The vision they crafted for the sound and the talent they brought into the fold to make it real was far beyond my own. I’m grateful to every musician on this album. It was a sight to behold watching eyes close, radars flip on, bodies lean into it and gifting these songs their years of experience, thousands of gigs, and wide open spirits. Hats off to: Ray Bonneville, Marian Brackney, Julie Carter, Ron Flynt, Libby Koch, Geoff Queen, Ray Rodriguez, Bill Small, and yes, Walt Wilkins…Fire Out Of Stone.”
The resulting album features 10 tracks, all penned by Hawthorne except for the aforementioned “I Will Fight No More Forever” by Richard Dobson. From the upbeat recounting of a biker’s last ride (Such Is Life) to the somber reflection of losing a friend in a car accident (Standing Alone), Hawthorne and the assembled crew deliver a collection of poignant, timeless songs with impeccable production and performances. Other standouts include Chuck’s rendition of Dobson’s Chief Joseph inspired epic, “I Will Fight No More Forever”, and the heart wrenching tale of love and death in West Texas, the second single, “Amarillo Wind” (which will be accompanied by a brilliant music video debuting in June). Intensely personal and unflinchingly honest, Fire Out Of Stone is an essential record for all fans of the American songwriting tradition.