The High Hawks | Aggie Theatre | 2/18/2024

Article Contributed by Backstage Flash | Published on Monday, February 19, 2024

One might say The High Hawks are a modern-day Roots supergroup, or perhaps just great friends who love to make music together. Either way, it's real magic happening that can't be ignored. You could not put together a more road-savvy group of personalities. These guys all met on the road, passing through the same venues and sharing time on the festival circuit. They are road warriors who have seen it all, lived the traveling musician lifestyle, and have graciously shared, and continue to share, their experiences with the world.

The High Hawks | Fort Collins, CO

All of the High Hawks members share the common bond of amazing songwriting and musical skills. Perhaps the universal powers that none of us can see brought them together. Taking into account the diversity and similarities of each of these musicians and putting them in a recording studio together must have been a gift from somewhere, right? The band came together in late 2019, and within the first few months of 2020, we were all introduced to, and hopefully will never experience again, a worldwide pandemic. This may have slowed their momentum down a bit as far as playing live shows, but now they are gigging, and people are loving the band.

Adam Greuel, Vince Herman, Brian Adams, Tim Carbone

"Mother Nature’s Show" is the group's second album, recorded in January 2023 and officially released on February 16th, 2024. The symbolism of starting this recording project on the first day of the new year has served the recording well. It was a collective new beginning for the band, and the record has been very well received by the public and critics. The album resembles a concept album as it takes the listener on a journey, a musical travelogue of time, places, people, and situations encountered on the endless highway of a musician's life. "This aforementioned album theme happened during the recording process and was total happenstance," says Vince Herman, vocalist-guitarist of the High Hawks.

Vince Herman | Fort Collins, CO

Herman, who is one of two frontmen in the band Leftover Salmon, was joined by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Tim Carbone from Railroad Earth, Chad Staehly from Hard Working Americans on keyboards and vocals, Adam Greuel on guitar and vocals from Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Brian Adams from DeadPhish Orchestra on bass, Will Trask on drums from Great American Taxi, and Kevin on cowbell. If that is not a crazy fine mix of talent, I don’t know what is. All of the musicians and the other bands they are currently in, or have been members of, are similar in style to the High Hawks. They all have an improvisational instinct and an adventurous attitude when it comes to their music, so this could not be a more perfect ensemble they find themselves in.

Adam Greuel, Will Trask, Vince Herman, Tim Carbone

Last night, The High Hawks brought the Sunday night crowd at the Aggie to a euphoric state of mind. Opening the show with the title track on the band's latest album release, “Mother Nature’s Show,” the band sounded hot right out of the gate. The music swirled from the stage with glorious openness, adventure, marksman-sharp delivery, and superb musicianship. It seemed like an unspoken connection was happening between the musicians and the audience as they ripped through the opening number. Encapsulating grooves that stirred your thoughts with joy and emotion filled the room. The sheer tightness of the band was front and center with clear and distinct instrumentation from everyone. “Somewhere South,” also from the new album, was next on the setlist. The song describes heading to a warm place down south to avoid the cold, harsh winter in the high country. The new music video link for “Somewhere South” is included here -

Tim Carbone | Fort Collins, CO

The High Hawks' alt-country, psychedelic rock, and soul sound was a downright foot-stomping party. Influenced by many of America’s greatest musicians, you felt the roots of Americana shine through their music. With four vocalists in the band and three guitar players during several songs, the sound was robust and round. Herman, Carbone, Greuel, and Staehly all delivered their unique vocal styles with fiery fistfuls of power. Their harmonies were beautifully executed, soulful examples of their passion for their craft. Seeing Herman play electric guitar and electric slide guitar was a bit different than his usual acoustic guitar role in Leftover Salmon. Personally, that was a real treat to see him rock out! During the song “Temperature is Rising," that Carbone sang, Herman, Greuel, and Carbone had an electric guitar solo duel, they went back and forth swapping searing licks, getting more powerful and intense as the song progressed.

The High Hawks | Aggie Theatre

The set was laid out beautifully, weaving together funky swampy jams, rock and roll, blues, ballads, and waltzes. The rhythm section, with Adams on bass and Trask on drums, was like a solid thick wall of bottom end. They kept the grooves tight and flowing as the rest of the band dug into the arrangements with stylistic instrumentation. The architecture of the songs was layered with chunky rhythm guitar parts from Herman, Carbone, and Greuel. Staehly on keyboards lit up every song with flowing fingerwork that cascaded along the keys like a musical fountain. His soloing skills were prominent and precise with some very tasteful looseness and noodling charm. Anything Carbone touches that has strings on it comes to life with superb clarity and precise note selection, whether he was playing fiddle or guitar, he raised the energy meter into the red with his quickness and instinctual note selection.

The High Hawks | Fort Collins, CO

About three-quarters of the way through the set, guitar virtuoso Taylor Scott appeared to deliver some fiery electric guitar work on two numbers. Scott is a monster guitar player with amazing instinct and heart. He lent his guitar chops on a cover of Willie Nelson’s “I Get Off On You” and “Backwater Voodoo,” a song by Tuttle, Pool & Greuel from their Cosmic Nudge album. Wow, what a gig, the High Hawks are soaring through the rock & roll landscape with dizzying ambition and serious musical backbone. The band was cohesive, loose, and fun; they brought infectious energy from everywhere. It was nice to see the friendships and respect the band has for one another come through the music; that is what makes a band special and brings the audience back every time.

Wood Belly - Aaron McCloskey, Dylan French, Chris Weist, Brennan Mackey, Chris Zink

Wood Belly kicked off the evening of music in fantastic fashion. Performing several genres of music including bluegrass, roots, rock, Americana, folk, and blues, you might say the band has an expanded and diverse musical palette. Recently enlisting Dylan French on drums and Brennan Mackey on bass, the band now has many new doors opening for them musically. Before the rhythm section was added, Wood Belly was a string band and a damn good one. They are deeply rooted in traditional Americana picking styles that span the aforementioned genres, but now they have a bigger, bolder sound, giving the band even more musical avenues to explore.

Wood Belly | Aggie Theatre

Chris Weist on acoustic guitar and vocals, Chris Zink on dobro and vocals, and Arron McCloskey on banjo, electric guitar, and vocals are thrilled to be exploring different styles of music with French and Mackey on board. Last night’s set was a gumbo of goodness. The band is adhering to their musical roots while exploring and expanding their sound in cool and interesting directions. Having bass and drums in the band yields many opportunities for the music to grow. They rocked the house last night - the band is bigger, the sound is bigger, and the opportunities are endless for Wood Belly. I was talking with some fans of Wood Belly, and they absolutely loved the newly expanded lineup and move towards a more electric sound.

Thanks to all of the musicians, the audience, and the Aggie staff. Special thanks to the Aggie sound and lighting crew and Silas Herman for doing sound for the High Hawks.