Hawktail performs at Rams Head on Stage on July 26, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
While the pandemic might have been a blockade to the life and career of many musicians, it could very well have provided opportunity and inspiration for others to dig in with their colleagues to create special music that might provide an appropriate backdrop to these weirdest of times.
An instrumental outfit featuring Brittany Haas on violin, Paul Kowert on bass, Jordan Tice on guitar, and Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Hawktail visited Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis the evening of July 26 to deliver two captivating sets of powerful, intricately composed music that speaks to the group’s increasingly strong connection despite the challenges of the past year and half.
Hawktail (Photo by Jody March)
String band music is often equated, at least in contemporary America, with bluegrass, but this is far from the whole story. Bluegrass only emerged in the 1930s (at the earliest), while string music is much, much older. The term “old-time” is used to describe music with even deeper roots in the 19th century (and sometimes even further back in history). It is old-time music, with its connection to the more distant past and world folk music, that the instrumental quartet Hawktail plays.
Druid Hill Park in the wind after a storm during Charm City Bluegrass Festival. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
Waking on Friday, the forecast indicated thunderstorms and heavy winds in the neighborhood of 3 to 7 o’clock. The hours passed slowly, work keeping me busy; periodic texts from my wife, little checks of the app, and nervous glances outside the windows of classrooms marked the passage of the clouds, the speed of the winds.