I think I remember the first time I heard his stuff and I remember at the time thinking- man, this guy is crazy. The first song I heard by him was Anger as Beauty. This song is pretty tame which is probably why it became so popular in the mainstream. My friend tried to get me to listen to some of his other stuff, but I have to say- at the time some of it made me feel a little uncomfortable. He does not sugar coat anything and his older stuff is particularly raw. I had quite a bit of his stuff on my computer and I hardly ever listened to it. My friend kept telling me- you have to go to his concert. I didn’t get it at the time. Little did I know I was missing out on one of the most engaging live performers I have ever had the pleasure of watching.
One day, one of his songs randomly came onto my computer again in my third year of university and I was hooked. I don’t know what was different about me that made me like it so much more in that moment- but I think something in me had changed, that made me appreciate his work so much more.
A reoccurring theme in his songs is darkness or dirtiness within, along with singing about sex a lot. That is actually how he introduces this song- Dirty and True. He says at the beginning of the video: “Sometimes the dirtiness is held within you and you are forbidden to talk about it”. I found that when I was looking for a video of one of my favourite Hawksley Workman songs for obvious reasons. That song is Jealous of Your Cigarette.
It is sort of a silly song… but I think I appreciate that although I cannot confirm that is talking about the fetish, it sounds like it. The song quality of the video is not great and the video is kind of lame. Regardless, he seems to appreciate the person that is smoking.
He also wrote another song called Lethal and Young and I can’t find a you tube clip to play but the lyrics of the song start like this:
It’s been fun destroying our bodies
It’s been great just being together
Crash another car, smoke another cigarette
And make love to all our favorites on the radio
’cause we don’t know how to make it go
We were only told how to burn it down
And then skip town
The references he makes to smoking occur in many of his songs. Another one of my favourites which seems to be a commentary on the life of a rockstar is Smoke Baby.
The above video is a live version, because I couldn’t find a non-live version. I think the lyrics that speak to me most in that song are these:
Who’ll give you time to cry?
And time to find yourself?
Anyhow… that is just a sampling of one of my favourite artists of all time. He is not for everyone, but his songs certainly speak to me. Not just the ones about smoking either. He often writes songs that really hit a chord with me. I try and get anyone I know to listen to him, much like my friend who tried to get me to listen to him, so it was only a matter of time before I started plugging him on here.
I’ll leave you with my current favourite, The City is a Drag