Hawker M. James Releases New Single, Music Video for “Falling Out”
March 30, 2018 — Today, Hawker M. James, released his new single and music video for “Falling Out.” The track is the first to come from the folk singer-songwriter in several years. In that lapse of time, Hawker was busy recording and working on several new songs, including “Falling Out” in 2016.
See the “Falling Out” feature on BUFFABLOG!
Hawker M. James is the pseudonym of Mike James (Longwave and The Demos). He emerged quietly as a journeyman songwriter, always an artist in transition, restlessly reacting to his latest move by going off in another direction. With “Falling Out,” Hawker M. James shows us where he’s at now, and gives us a first taste of what to expect from his upcoming album, The Cool Wind.
A few words on “Falling Out”:
A working-class family man sits on a stool in what remains of his mom-and-pop music store, having just recently gone out of business. As he waits for the movers to come and collect the guitars off the wall racks, he picks up a weathered acoustic and starts strumming, wistfully looking back on his own dreams.
If that sounds like a scene straight out of an ‘80s Mellencamp video parody, it gives Hawker M. James a good chuckle too. But it really happened that way. And when the first words to cross James’ lips were “Maybe I don’t have much worth,” he knew he had just uttered the most naked, soul-baring lyric in a career that spans almost two decades.
Like all the iconic anthems that deal with similar subject matter, one cannot resist the upliftment of singing along to “Falling Out,” even as the song hits so painfully close to home — a testament not only to James’ songcraft but also to his newfound affinity for the succinct, ultra-tasteful styles of master tunesmiths like Bob Dylan, Burt Bacharach, and Richard Thompson.
Unlike the bulk of his output as the leader/namesake of various solo-vehicle projects (Admirers, Mikey Jukebox, The Mercies, etc), James’ new single “Falling Out” is a picture of economy when it comes to its production. Since childhood, the magic of studio production has gripped James’ imagination as much as the mystique of rock and roll itself.
This time, though, even when strings ever-so-discreetly appear in the bridge section, “Falling Out” remains the most direct song James has ever put out after years spent experimenting with production techniques. When James sings “If we’re good together / there may be other love / but your form is sweeter than the rest” he’s declaring that music is his traveling companion for life, come what may. However much he and music have “falling outs” in their relationship, it’s now more clear than ever that he and music are irrevocably conjoined. So a song borne out of teetering at the precipice of failure becomes a defiant statement of resolve.
“How did I get here?” is a question all of us eventually ask. To be able to put that feeling into song such that it both serves as the main thrust but can also sit back behind the pure joy of the hook is the mark of songwriting seasoning that can only come with age — not to mention a little bit of getting kicked to the ground.
After a brush with the zeitgeist as a member of the dreampop quartet Longwave during the downtown Manhattan explosion that also gave us the Strokes, James packed his bags, returned to his hometown in the upper-western part of the state, bought a house, got married, took a regular job, and re-centered himself by going back to what he’s always done: write songs.
Writing, recording and mixing songs is what James has been doing since high school. He’s written so many songs that he’s filled more shoeboxes and hard drives than he can count. Along the way, lots of them landed on hit TV shows like “New Girl” and “Community”, as James carved out a niche for himself somewhere between bedroom recording and lavish production ambition.
A decisive step into the realm of folk music, “Falling Out” is arguably James’ most fully realized song to date. It is a testament to an almost helpless devotion to one’s craft, one’s muse, or whatever that thing is that just won’t let go. And that’s something we can all relate to whether that thing happens to be music or not.
“It’s not what you claim or make at the end of the course,” James sings. A simple reminder, and one that is all too true.