Zander Hawley isn’t new to the folk scene — his duo Honeywater had over 80,000 plays on Spotify last year alone and their EP Wonder peaked at number 7 on the iTunes Folk Chart. His solo efforts have been successful as well, as his first single as a solo artist “Hid In The Little Things” was featured on FOX’s The Following. Zander Hawley’s debut LP When I Get Blue, which was premiered in mid-May by Noisey, is a ten track long breakup album that is an honest evolution of his previous releases.
The album opens with album single “Don’t Call Me Back.” The lyrics appear sarcastic: “It’s just that I thought you were nice / and I had a lovely time the other night / but it’s alright / disappointment fades with wine.” The upbeat track sets the mood for a raw and truthful second release.
“I Met Someone” paints a portrait of a new love gone awry. Opening acoustically, Zander croons “I met someone / she’s 22 / she’s probably got a boyfriend too / but maybe I’ll get lucky just this once.” The simplicity of “I Met Someone” has a nice way of showcasing Zander Hawley’s vocal ability.
In “How Tonight Will Go,” the sadness peaks through and proves that When I Get Blue is aptly named. The track brings out an almost bluesy side to Hawley’s music and he introduces the harmonica to his acoustic guitar.
Through “Until We Both Get Bored,” we are reintroduced to Phoebe Bridgers as a vocalist. Bridgers was also featured on Hawley’s previous EP, I Wish I Was. An artist herself, Phoebe was called ‘2017’s Best New Artist’ by NPR. Bridgers’ soothing vocals play well with Hawley’s on this somber track, and therefore are featured on the majority of the album as backing vocals.
Tracks like “When the Fear is Heavy” and “Ever Yours” bring us back to a certain amount of acoustic-ness until Hawley brings in intense emotions through his instrumentals and lyrics. The tracks are a good match for the middle section of the album.
In “Open Season,” Hawley risks sounding clichè by delving into the topic of relationships changing like the seasons. However, he takes on a different perspective through lyrics like “every day with her just felt like open season.”
Sonically, “At My Age” brings us back to the simplistic elements of folk music. Lyrically, it reminds us that Hawley is writing from a twenty year old’s headspace.
The final two tracks on When I Get Blue are the most lengthy. “Every Woman in the World” is an upbeat track, but don’t let that fool you — it still ties into the album’s central theme of sadness. It has two separate solos (piano and guitar) that sound like a chapter coming to a close.
“We Don’t Talk so Much Anymore” (the album’s namesake) closes out the album. Reminiscent of some of the great singer songwriters of our generation, Zander Hawley’s “We Don’t Talk so Much Anymore” has the power to stop you in your tracks.
For some, it’s nerve-wracking when an artist has a solo project, but there’s no reason to worry about Zander Hawley. Anything but your typical Nashville-worshipping musician with an acoustic guitar, Zander Hawley’s words are lyrically complex and wholly unique to his personal art form.
Photo Credit ↠ Tyler Squires