The Bitter End

by Jamie R Hawkins

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The Bitter End – Jamie R Hawkins - The Sweindonian Review (by Dave Franklin)

I’m sure there are just as many, if not more, acoustic, solo, guitar slingers around now than there ever has been. Sadly in this age where anyone on a gap year feels the need, and sadly the entitlement, to be a musician, the increased musical traffic has not resulted in an upsurge in quality songs from exciting songwriters. Thankfully we have people like Jamie R Hawkins, a narrative driven songster who flies in the face of the transient acoustic pop wannabe I have just described.

Remember when songs said something more than bedroom droning and of aspirations to be famous? Well, Jamie does and here he offers up another batch of songs forged from personal experience or at least personal observation. But more than that, they are songs that you can relate to, built around small kitchen sink dramas, universal emotions and everyday situations - honest stuff delivered with wit and wisdom and with his heart worn openly on his sleeve.

Jamie’s ability to handle a tune remains deft and confident, his poetic sense of place and situation remains strong and I’m glad to see that ‘As Big As You’ made it to this album. Out of all of the familiar scenes and scenarios he conjures via his songs it is this reflection on what it means to both be a dad whilst trying to live up to the benchmark set by your own childhood memories, that is such a powerful song, the one that when I first heard it played live made me realise just what a eloquent lyrical pathway Jamie walks.

References abound, as they are always going to, not because he is sailing too close to any other artists wind but because the musical ship he has built to steer himself through the often difficult waters of being a career musician is both as sleek and practical as those employed by much bigger names. There is something of Paul Simon in the jaunt of the words and Neil Finn always crops up about this point in any review I write of Jamie’s music - I also get the sense that these are the sort of songs that should have been the hallmark of Paul McCartney’s later career.

Any new release from Jamie is looked forward to and this certainly doesn’t disappoint, but it goes further than that. It reminds you that on any given night, amongst all the glitzy arena shows at one extreme and the Ed Sheeran wannabes playing to their mates at the other, if you search hard enough you will find a small pack of grass roots musicians delivering charming, clever and often beautiful songs about the human condition. Go and say hi to them, buy a CD, help them on their way…or at least help them earn the petrol money home, one of them might be Jamie and one day you will turn on the TV and be able to say, “see that guy there? I remember him when….”

Gig Monkey review: Jamie R Hawkins – The Bitter End
By Ed Dyer

Wiltshire singer /songwriter Jamie R Hawkins treads a traditional and straight path of acoustic folk-pop but, through deft song-writing based on personal experiences and observations, manages to elevate his work well above the average.

Very much an “everyman” artist, these are songs that are easy to relate to; soap-opera dramas and domestic struggles put to music. “As Big As You” is a cutesy but powerful number about comparing yourself to your father, childhood memories and facing your own responsibilities, “Nicotine” a love song to the world’s most popular narcotic.

The music is unsophisticated but nuanced, simple yet stylised and the perfect partner for the lyrics and the voice, which is where you will find the heart and soul of this record – it is wonderful to be presented with material from a writer who puts his words front and centre, who doesn’t get obsessed with clever music and breaking boundaries, who remembers that a song is an art-form based on singing, and therefore based on the words and the lyricism of the story.

This is a fantastic throwback to simpler times and simpler pleasures, a dose of rosy cheeked nostalgia and old-fashioned bardic song-writing, albeit updated for the 21st century.

If you want songs that are deep and meaningful essays then look elsewhere, if you want to listen something that is more about real life, that presents kitchen sink dramas in music form then get yourself some of this, it is an absolute joy.

PRESS QUOTES

"emotionally charged, poignant and witty acoustic pop-rock that reminds you of Crowded House or even Del Amitri, which is fine by me" - Dave Franklin, Secret Chord Records

"Bloody brilliant!....powerful, utterly original, articulate, heartfelt, emotional, very well constructed and superb in every way." - Richard Niles, Producer, Author, UK Songwriting Contest

"a heady combination of from the heart self analysis and universal truths, stark realities and street level wisdom" - The Swindonian

"(His) songwriting is strong and the delivery is often exceptional" - No More Division

"a blend of clever narratives and dexterous guitar slinging" - Songs Of Praise

"a great songwriter with a real ability to look at things from a slightly different angle. Also one of his songs makes my cry, and I’m not ashamed to admit it." - Phil Cooper, Number Nine Studios

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released April 7, 2017

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Jamie R Hawkins England, UK

Jamie R Hawkins is an Award Winning Singer Songwriter whose songs have won him critical acclaim in the UK and around the world.
April 2017 saw the release of his well received third EP, 'The Bitter End' with a third European tour planned for August. His successes overseas have secured him more future tour dates and a recording deal with independent Swiss label, Funk Street Studios.
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Track Name: Show Of Me
In a dark, dark house, On a dark, dark hill,
In a dark, dark room you'll find him, waiting 'til
All the dark ruminations in his dark, dark heart,
Keep him running 'round in circles 'til he's
Right back at the start.
Left alone to his devices and a stack of alcohol,
He keeps digging at himself until he's swallowed by the hole,
He don't need your observations, he won't heed your good advice,
He prefers to play the victim in these tradgedies he writes.
He requires a captive audience each day
To get the best from his perfrormance as he steps out on the stage.

If you wanna get down you can depend on me
And if you're coming around just bring your sympathy
Come on in and enjoy, The Show Of Me

On a dark December on a dark, dark night
She resolved to put an end to this, and went looking for a fight,
So she showed him all the scars upon her bright, bright heart
Told him reaching out to someone else, would be the perfect place to start
Then she tore down all the curtains, flung the doors and windows wide,
And she turned on all the lights so he'd have nowhere left to hide,
But he slipped into the shadows and they fit him like a glove
Then she realised her best intentions weren't good enough.
So she decided to come back another day
'Cos you can only help the helpless when they're ready to be saved

If you wana get down you can depend on me
And if you're coming around just bring your sympathy
it's an opera of self-inflicted misery
Come on in and enjoy, The Show Of Me
Welcome to the show of me
Yeah, Welcome to the show of me

In a dark, dark house, On a dark, dark hill,
In a dark, dark room you'll find him, waiting stil

If you wana get down you can depend on me
And if you're coming around just bring your sympathy
it's an opera of self-inflicted misery
Come on in and enjoy, The Show Of Me
Welcome to the show of me
Yeah, Welcome to the show of me
Track Name: As Big As You
When I was a boy no more than two or three
Overcome with curiosity
I slipped into your room because I had to see
What it was like to be a man as big as my Dad
Opened your wardrobe and I found your clothes
Your suits and shirts all hanging neatly in a row
I put one on because I had to know
How it would feel to be a man as big as my Dad

But your sleeves came down past my fingers
And my little feet were swallowed by your shoes
Then it suddenly occured to me I'd never be as big a man as you
As big a man as you

I'm older now with children of my own
And so, apparently I'm fully grown
But you're still the best man that I've ever known
And how I wish I was a bit more like you Dad.
Cos where you shine I always trip and fall
You apply reason, I face demons using alcohol
And you always find the time to see me through it all
That's why I'll never be as big a man as you Dad

Because your sleeves come down past my fingers
And I'll never be enough to fill your shoes
Every day it reoccurs to me I'll never be as big a man as you

Oh, I do my level best to follow your examples
To accept myself and love my fellow man
And you make it look so easy and I'm hopeful that I'll get there
Just as long as I keep doing all I can

When you were talking to my son today
I heard you ask him what he'd be if he could have his way
It knocked my head off when I heard him say
"Someday I'm gonna be a man as big as my Dad"

So though your sleeves come down past my fingers
And I'll never be enough to fill your shoes
It's okay because in many ways
I've always been as big a man as you

And it's okay, because today
I found a way to be as Big a man as
You

As big a man as you
As big a man as you
As big a man as you
Track Name: Where No Shadows Ever Fall
Without a precedence or warning
It shocked me to my very core
It drained the colour from my morning
When I heard that you're not with us anymore
And though we never saw it coming,
I wasn't so surprised to learn,
That you'd settled your accounts and left
A note addressed to Whom it may concern

And at first I was so angry
To be among the last to know
I felt treated like an outcast
An unnecessary cruel and bitter blow
Then I remember feeling guilty
For not doing all I could have done
And I spent the next few days and hours
Waiting for the tears that wouldn't come

Then I heard your voice inside me it said
"Put aside your pain,
'Cos I'm better off on this side
Where I'll never hurt again
And you know you'll always find me where my memory remains
Just around the corner waiting for your call
Where no shadows ever fall"

Last night I had a dream about you
We were little boys once more
In our pyjamas we went stealing through your garden
To throw pebbles from the shore
Your skin was like pale alabaster
Your eyes were bruises on the snow
And we played castles in the sand dunes
Like the ghosts of who we were so long ago

And we ran down among the groynes collecting driftwood on the way
And we built ourselves a fire to chase the ocean chill away
And we never spoke a word, we didn't need to anyway
Because the starry skies above us said it all
Where no shadows ever fall

When the morning came to wake me there were tears upon my face
And my bitterness and anger disappeared without a trace
And my heart was full of gladness and my spirit full of grace because
In many ways you'd never left at all
You're Where no shadows ever fall
You're Where no shadows ever fall
You're Where no shadows ever fall
Track Name: Whatever Gets You Through The Day
Choose your moment, choose your next move carefully
Choose your own path, and take your lessons with you
Be the person, the person you set out to be
Rise above the, the adversity
And hope, against the odds
Against the dying of the day

Wooooo-oo-ooo
Wooooo-oo-ooo

Take your chances, take only what you really need
But give it all back, when it's time to pay don't,
Be distracted, by their bitter jealousies
'Cos they don't get you, so don't let them get to you
Have faith, when all seems lost, when trouble brings you no reprieve

Wooooo-oo-ooo, whenever
Wooooo-oo-ooo, whenever life gets in the way,
Dooooo-oo-ooo, whatever, gets you through the day
Whatever Gets You Through The Day

Take a picture, keep it for the memories,
But don't forget there's, more to the forest than the trees
Fight your corner, defend your integrity
But know when to back down, and when to walk away
And love, when love is scarce,
Make your compassion your decree
Fill your heart with honesty, and the truth shall set you free

Wooooo-oo-ooo
Wooooo-oo-ooo
Wooooo-oo-ooo, whenever
Wooooo-oo-ooo, whenever life gets in the way,
Dooooo-oo-ooo, whatever, gets you through the day
Wooooo-oo-ooo, whenever
Wooooo-oo-ooo, whenever life gets in the way,
Dooooo-oo-ooo, whatever, gets you through the day
Whatever Gets You Through The Day
Track Name: Nicotine
There you are again,
My old insistent friend
Quicken in my blood

A part of you remains,
Like yellow finger stains
Itch beneath my skin,
Panic closing in

Nicotine
Nicotine

Weave your subtle charms
You temper me with calm
And so eventually
You get the best of me

Sickened by my need
Your appetite, my greed
Panic closing in
Need to breath you in

Nicotine
Nicotine

There you are again
My circle without end
Inevitably
You'll be the death of me


Nicotine
Nicotine
Leave me unclean
Nicotine

Nicotine
Nicotine
Track Name: The Bitter End
This is the first time I've been in this situation
And I appreciate how this must feel for you
So I suppose it's time we had this conversation
An opportunity to share our points of view

Sometimes it's hard to see the closing of a chapter
When there's no telling what the next one has in store
But you can find another happy ever after
And all you have to do is try another door
All you have to do is try another door

I'm not here to substitute someone who cannot be replaced
I've obligations of my own but what I have is yours to take
And I've a feeling we could be the best of friends
Until the bitter end

I understand there will be times when you will fight this
And I accept we won't always see eye to eye
But you can count on me whenever there's a crisis
Among the last to leave, the first one to arrive

This is just as much a learning curve for me as it's for you
And I can't promise that I'll always know exactly what to do
And though we'll have our disagreements now and then
When there's trouble I will leap to your defence
And fight until the bitter end
Untill the bitter end

So for everytime you're down and disconnected
When the thunderclouds are blocking out your sun
Remember you and I we're part of a collective
Together there is nothing we can't overcome
United there is nothing we can't overcome

So I make a solemn oath to be the best friend I can be
'Cos I don't think you realise what you've already done for me
When I'm broken you soon have me on the mend
That's how I know that we'll remain the best of friends
From now untill the bitter end
Until the bitter end

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