Local Music Reviews
Jake Haws = Charlie Brown + James Taylor
Jake Haws is a local institution. Reading his bio, it is clear he is a busy man. Haws is a musician, songwriter and film composer with an impressive resume of seven albums, four EPs and three films. Haws once owned Muse Music Cafe—a venue and recording studio in Provo, Utah, that helped to support local musicians. He also documented in a blog “50 songs in 50 weeks.” How prolific can he be? This man needs a rest, but he doesn’t take it. Haws has continued his mind-blowing musical output by releasing a new full-length album titled, Good Grief. The theme of this record is pretty easy—there is someone out there that has broken Haws’ heart, and this album is the floodgate of heartbreak that pours over this entire record, the lost-love/no-love/finding-love formula of the lonely wounded heart.
Jake Haws has cultivated that laid-back, early-70s Laurel Canyon California sound that enables Haws to put his heart hurt, lovesick poetry on display. “I don’t know what went wrong that is making me sing this song,” Jake Haws sings on “Little Bird,” “but I got a feeling that someone’s coming back for me.” Maybe, maybe not. This is the crux of the album—the loss of a loved one and the longing/hope for their return. On the upbeat “Moving On,” Haws confidently states, “I’m finally free to step into the light / Oh, yeah, I’m feeling confident and the future’s bright.” It seems a little like he’s moved on. He hasn’t. It changes in the next song. “Because I’m flawed from the start / And it’s keeping me apart / From the ones I love and adore,” Haws sings on the track “Flawed.” “I’m trying harder every day / To shed the weaker man away.” When we finally reach the final song, “Brand New Life,” it’s the optimistic reach of a lonely heart: “What if we got together / We could watch the boats float by / You could talk and I would listen / And I would understand your mind.”
Good grief! Jake Haws is the sad-sack Charlie Brown of his own record. This isn’t a bad thing. Broken/mending hearts make for great songs, and Jake Haws has plenty of them here. I can only hope that true love will find its way back to him and provide a companion record of love—sweet love in all its splendid glory. –Russ Holsten