Music

Album Review: Hawks and Doves Find Release on New Album 'From A White Hotel'

Photo: Jennie Baker

Kacey Anderson's got the kind of life story you can't make up. Before the Portland-based Americana artist formed Hawks and Doves, he'd ridden the highs of a promising music career only to have it crumble beneath him. Anderson is back after a six-year absence from music, which consisted of a prison sentence, a Bipolar I diagnosis, rehab, and sobriety. When Anderson got out of prison, he planned to leave his music days behind him. As Anderson trained to become a certified professional counselor, he and his friends Jesse Moffat, Ben Landsverk and Jordan Richter jammed at night in Richter's Room 13 Recordings and recorded a cover of Tender Mercies' "Wiseblood" for a benefit album to support a friend's cancer treatment. After several years, those jams produced Anderson's new album From a White Hotel.

True to their origins, some of these songs still feel off the cuff, particularly "Get Low." The song is a romp through the criminal underbelly of the Brooklyn of yesteryear, all delivered with a Tom Waits-growl. "Geek Love" is a melancholy song centered around carnival workers set to a melody that'll stick in your head for a while.

However, these are not haphazard songs. If anything, From a White Hotel proves the value of taking a few years to write songs. The album's opener, "The Dangerous Ones," is a searing indictment of white supremacy as well as a hint of the radical potential of anti-racist activism. If you found Anderson's colleague American Aquarium's "The World Is On Fire" too political for your liking then you're about to be triggered, snowflake:

Let the television burn, baby / there's a riot in the street
They said the wolf was at the front door / but he was lying at their feet
We felt a change, a change but ain't it a shame / how it all turned out
Back then it was a long time coming / it's a little late now

They're gonna stack up the dead 'til they block out the sun
These white boys with money make the whole world run
Let the wall hit your back, the blood hit your tongue
'Cause you and me, baby, we're the dangerous ones

If there's a word for last winter / it's something worse than discontent
I'm 37 years old and staying out of trouble / ain't enough to make my rent
So let it burn, let it burn, let the motherfucker burn / it's election day
They shut the water off last week / I guess it's gonna burn either way

They'll ship the bodies back down with the cocaine and guns
These white boys with money make the whole world run
So let the wall hit your back, the blood hit your tongue
'Cause you and me, brother, we're the dangerous ones

You can curse and you can cry / you can scream yourself to sleep every night
Or you can open up your eyes / and take a look outside

Every wall is gonna tumble / every tower's gonna fall
The earth is gonna rumble / the siren's gonna call
So you better look alive, alive, read the black not the white / forget the reds and blues
Stop looking for a way out / start looking for a way through

Well a shot's been fired but the war ain't won
These white boys with money better learn how to run
The wall hit your back, the blood's on your tongue
Now you and me, baby, we're the dangerous ones

Now you and me, baby, we're the dangerous ones

From a White Hotel is built around Americana that takes its cues from Mellencamp, Springsteen, and the Gaslight Anthem with some sharp '80s-reminiscent synthesizer to give the songs a distinctive flair. As the album transitions to more personal songs in its second half, we see Anderson transition from self-assured rocker to a person who is deeply aware of the pain he's caused and the pain he's fought to make peace within his own heart. Ultimately, From a White Heart provides lessons on reckoning with the parts of yourself you'd prefer to forget.

The band brought in some serious heavy-hitters to round out the album: Andrea McKeag (Honkies, Presidents of the United States) sis on a few songs. Letters to Cleo's Kay Hanley rounded out "The Dangerous Ones" to give it its haunting majesty. Kurt Bloch (The Fastbacks, Young Fresh Fellows, Filthy Friends) adds his guitar in for "Get Low," which also features Tom Waits' renowned saxophonist Ralph Carney, performing on what would be one of the last songs he recorded before his untimely death at the end of 2017. Producer and singer-songwriter-guitarist Eric Ambel added his guitar to "Chasing the Sky," while Blind Pilot's Dave Jorgensen played trumpet and pump organ to "Every Once in a While" and "A Lover's Waltz" respectively. Mercy Graves' Marisa La Fata Mazur made her voice the finishing touch for "Every Once in a While."

The release date is July 27 on Jullian Records.

'From a White Hotel' Track Listing:

1. "The Dangerous Ones"
2. "Chasing The Sky"
3. "Every Once in a While"
4. "Get Low"
5. "Geek Love"
6. "Bulletproof Hearts (For Laura Jane)"
7. "Lithium Blues"
8. "Lover's Waltz"
9. "Clothes Off My Back"
10. "From A White Hotel"
11. "I'm the Ocean" (bonus)
12. "Wiseblood" (bonus)

Kasey Anderson On Tour:

7/28 -- Marfa, Texas -- The Capri
7/29 -- Austin, Texas -- Saxon Pub
7/31 -- New Orleans, La. -- NOLA County Radio
8/1 -- Memphis, Tenn. -- Lafayette's Music Room
8/2 -- Nashville, Tenn. -- The 5 Spot
8/3 -- Knoxville, Tenn. -- Live on WDVX
8/4 -- Asheville, N.C. -- Fleetwoods
8/5 -- Raleigh, N.C. -- Slim's
8/10 -- New York, N.Y. -- Hill Country BBQ
8/12 -- Chicago, Ill. -- Uncommon Ground
8/13 -- MPLS, Minn. -- Uptown VFW
8/17 -- Prosser, Wash. -- Brewminatti
8/22 -- San Francisco, Calif. -- Hotel Utah
8/24 -- Portland, Ore. -- Secret Society
8/25 -- Portland, Ore. --Music Millenium

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Album Review: Hawks and Doves Find Release on New Album 'From A White Hotel'