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LISTEN: Hilary Hawke, “LILYGILD”

May 20, 2022


Artist: Hilary Hawke
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Release Date: May 24, 2022

In Their Words: “I wrote the tune ‘LILYGILD’ because I wanted to create something beautiful. It was the winter of 2020, and things were rough here in NYC. I was pretty isolated in a tiny apartment with no roommates and I was longing to have something new in my life to be excited about. To me, the banjo is the most versatile instrument in terms of tone, creativity and creating texture in songs. Sometimes people think the banjo can only sound very crisp and loud and I always try to counter that in my playing. One day, I got this melody stuck in my head, day in and day out I was humming and singing it. Although the tune sounds moody and brooding, when I finished writing it, I felt so much happiness. The name ‘LILYGILD’ comes from the Shakespearean expression, ‘to gild a lily.’ Meaning, when something is already beautiful, you don’t need to add unnecessary ornamentation. I wrote and recorded the tune from the heart, and didn’t feel the need to ‘gild’ it with extra production, or anything beyond guitar and banjo playing around a couple microphones.

“Especially in this world of social media, if feels good to recognize that things can be natural, simple and special. I kept this in mind as the concept for the entire album, on which ‘LILYGILD’ is the title track. A couple months later, I tested out the tune to a very small group of people in the backyard of this great bar called Sunny’s, along the water in Brooklyn. I had to play outdoors in the winter and I had on fingerless gloves and was drinking hot toddies to stay warm. Needless to say, the song stuck and ‘LILYGILD’ stands out as the only fingerpicked tune on the album. It starts in a minor key then elevates into a major key for the B section where it all wraps around back to the minor A section again. I’m joined by the wonderful guitar playing of Reed Stutz who captured the creative landscape and expression I was hoping for. We improvise through the tune though we stay connected to the melody, and let the banjo and guitar stay natural and exposed.” — Hilary Hawke

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