Gregory and the Hawk.
Just floating in the air (a sensation I get when I really dig music), then a sweet voice calls my attention. It was coming from that online radio program I listen to every Sunday, Antifama. The words, the title, ‘The Bolder Thing to Do’; a very little known gifted voice and songwriter (at this part of the world, i.e., Mexico), go girl!
That is how you get the utmost of an acoustic guitar! Some tears leave my eyes as the song goes on, and I write in the radio station’s web page the next day, stating that this song made me cry. It really did, sometimes the past haunts even the most virtuous notes coming from someone else’s heart.
Heartbreak, the quest for true love in this short period of time we call life, broken friendships, deceit, family (mixed feelings, as always), one-sided loving, and the dream coming true of being loved back and consequent anxiety, such a therapy translated in the words and guitar of a girl who calls herself Gregory (after her brother) and the Hawk (after her childhood’s imaginary hawk).
Meredith Godreau is her real name. A one-girl show, multi-instrumentalist New Yorker who still belongs to Indie scenarios, and is well known for her sweet, almost child-like, ultra feminine voice range; one that sings her heart out in every track, most of them of her full authorship in both words and music.
As I fall in love with GATH’s ‘The Bolder Thing to Do’, I find another song that meant the ultimate exorcism to me, ‘Bad Habit’ (from her second album, In Your Dreams, 2007). What really tears me apart? The way she sings live, as if she wanted to cry. Who would not cry with lyrics claiming “and the heart wants us to fall in love (…) but love once got me in the gut. There was no real fight, it tore me up”? She just nailed it. Ouch!
While going deeper into GATH’s music and story (because I love the Internet), I notice there are many feelings and situations that most of us girls (boys too) find and put ourselves into. For a better understanding of this loony thought, I rephrase the early XXth Century Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo: it seems we all live, feel and think the same, it is just that some of us are bolder (talented I would say) and speak it up (and yes, I thought the same before I even read Unamuno’s). What a relief can it be to know someone else had to put up with the same pain we are facing and survived and even sings about it?
Some bands find their best sound in the studio, others do live. This (now a) band is one of those who sound at their prime when live, it is maybe because of Meredith Godreau’s energy and amazing self-expression capacity, as one of the most repeated words in this review dictates, a gift that can take our breath away.
Two albums and one demo have been released by this lady on her acoustic M.O.: Gregory and The Hawk (2005, demo), The Boats & Birds (2006) and In Your Dreams (2007). Moenie and Kitchie (2008), was recorded with a band she formed, a somewhat drastic change that may risk her losing some of her sweetness amidst the electric guitars and drums. One particular track from The Boats & Birds (‘Oats we sow’) was reworked with the full band, with a new trend to follow.
However, Moenie and Kitchie still preserves Godreau’s signature in every breath, inch and note making the perimeter of the album. Despite the unfortunate arrangements ‘Oats we sow’ went through, this still is a high quality album that really is worth the money for both the album and tickets for her gigs (please come to Mexico).
Every artist evolves and tries to innovate him/herself as time (and albums) go by; it is a natural thing to do. It is up to our preferences whether we decide to follow them or not, and in this case, I dare to say GATH is better as an acoustic attack, i.e., one or two guitars and her voice. Still, I love her music.
It is just amazing how music can create such an unique imaginary or convey feelings that you have never ever felt or just loved to feel or tried to bury in the confines of your “system”. Magic, Honesty in every word and note, so fluid music structures, painful alphabet, joyous riffs, anxiety transferred to a guitar neck as this great talent takes her heart out and puts it in our hands every time she performs.
Kudos to GATH, thank you for helping me find the words and accuracy I lost at some hidden corner of my mind and heart and overcoming one of the greatest disappointments, and deceits of my life.
About the author: Her earphones are still alive two months after the purchase date. So far, so good.