Photo by: Trudie Lee
JUNO-award winning singer-songwriter Hawksley Workman can now add “critically-acclaimed playwright” to his long-list of impressive achievements. Workman has been receiving oodles of praise for his one-man cabaret The God That Comes which premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects and will be heading to Vancouver at The Cultch November 13-24, 2013 and Toronto at the Tarragon Theatre June 3-29, 2014.
Inspired by Euripides’ tragedy The Bacchae, and co-written and directed by Christian Barry of 2b theatre company, The God That Comes breathes life into the 2400 year-old drama, superbly fusing the feel of a live rock concert with theatre. Back from a special run in Denmark and The Netherlands in August, Workman and Barry recently got word that The God That Comes won two 2013 Betty Mitchell Awards (aka The Bettys) which honours outstanding achievement in Calgary’s professional theatre community. Winning “Outstanding Production Of A Musical”, and “Outstanding Sound Design Or Composition”, the show also received 2 other nominations; one for “Outstanding New Play” and a special nod for Workman in the “Outstanding Performance By An Actor In A Comedy Or Musical” category.
Perhaps best known as a singer, songwriter and performer, Hawksley is also a successful producer, poet, multi-instrumentalist, and member of indie band Mounties. A staple of the Canadian arts scene for close to 15 years, he boasts a catalogue of solo releases currently 14 strong, showcasing his now signature spectrum of sonic influence, from cabaret to electro-pop to anthemic rock and plenty in between. The accolades he’s amassed include JUNO nods and wins and widespread critical acclaim.
As a producer, his fingerprints grace releases by JUNO and Polaris Prize nominees and winners like Tegan and Sara, Sarah Slean, Serena Ryder, Hey Rosetta!, and Great Big Sea. He’s also penned melodies with a myriad of artists, from Oscar winner Marion Cotillard to French rock icon Johnny Hallyday. And despite the laundry list of achievements, the man continues to strive for his creative crest.
Workman’s most recent release is the soundtrack to his acclaimed one-man show, The God That Comes – a theatrical tribute to the Greco-Roman god of wine and ecstasy that benefits beautifully from Workman’s peerless panache and vivacity. While his songwriting has long sprouted from an epiphanic kind of effortlessness, with the majority of his songs written, recorded, and ready for consumption within 24 hours, theatre aches for a more elaborate approach. “In theatre, people like to exist in a state of constant process,” Workman shares. “I’ve always thought of songs as little organic gifts, and taken them as they come, whereas in theatre, we were focused on minutiae at all times. It was interesting accommodating my desire to kind of mess around as I saw fit.”
The God That Comes is much like Mounties, Workman’s on-the-rise lo-fi indie rock trio rounded out by Hot Hot Heat’s Steve Bays and Ryan Dahle of Limblifter and Age of Electric fame. “For someone like me that’s always trying to figure out what’s coming next and how I fit into this fickle music business, these kind of projects give me breathing space to figure out exactly where I want to go with my solo work.”
And with that, Workman is currently part way through the composition and creation of his next solo album, due to drop in late 2014. And so, with artistic outlets like the aforementioned Mounties and his theatrical production acting as a creative filter and primer, Workman is set to get back into the studio with regularity. “I’m feeling quite strongly about it now,” he says of his latest material – songs that explore our relationship with nature and how humans often strives to look graceful in a habitat where they don’t belong.
Not many artists can boast the type of musical career Hawksley has had, let alone throw a successful musical into the mix. Hawksley Workman is many things to many people in many places, but primarily, he’s a student of the human psyche; an artist in the purest sense of the word, constantly finding fresh and interesting ways to frame and share the world – the people we are and the things we encounter. It’s a virtually bottomless well of ideas for a man with virtually endless imagination and creative outlets.
For more information on The God That Comes, please visit: http://thegodthatcomes.com/
Listen to 2 tracks from the concept album and one-man cabaret:
Ukelady Boy: A song about the beguiling nature of Bacchus, the androgynous god of wine, fertility, and ritual ecstasy.
If Your Prayer: The King interrogates the god about the kinds of things that are “going on” up on the mountain.
Oct 24-26 Pittsburgh, PA @ Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts (The God That Comes)
Nov 1-2 Banff, AB @ The Club @ The Banff Centre (Solo show)
Nov 13-24 Vancouver, BC @ The Cultch (The God That Comes)
Nov 26, 27 Whitehorse, YK @ Yukon Arts Centre (The God That Comes)
Nov 29 Midland, ON @ Midland Cultural Centre (Rock show)
Nov 30 Ottawa, ON @ Shenkman Arts Centre (Rock show)
Dec 1 Burnstown ON @ Neat Coffee Shop (Rock show)
Jan 22-Feb 2 Edmonton, AB @ The Citadel (The God That Comes)
June 3-29 Toronto, ON @ Tarragon Theatre (The God That Comes)