We're excited to present our winter edition of Porch Stomp Presents highlighting some our favorite personalities within the Porch Stomp community. Today's artist is not only an incredible musician, but also a well known teacher and respected community leader within the NYC folk world: Hilary Hawke.
Hilary brings an air of brilliance to everything she does, whether it's leading the old-time slow jam at The Jalopy Theatre, teaching a seemingly endless list of banjo students, embarking on cross-cultural explorations with the Kinesis Project or Tuvagrass, or just gigging around town. She is an often sought element in almost any context, but is most commonly seen playing banjo, bass and singing. It's tough to say how we first encountered Hilary since she seems to be everywhere at the same time, but her first involvement with the Porch Stomp community came via planning and implementing several projects for Porch Stomp 2017 on Governors island.
Today, we're presenting her in the context of a new band, the Wild Goats, featuring Brian Geltner on drums and Sam Kulik on tuba and trombone. An offshoot of Dubl Handi (whose arrangement of "Shout Lula" hit #1 on the folk radio charts in 2013), the Wild Goats are fun, upbeat and colorful with improvisatory twists that add some extra flavor to settings of the old classics. Check out their version of "Jenny Hang the Kettle On", recorded live by BEEHiVE Productions at Spaceworks Williamsburg.
Q and A with Hilary Hawke
How long have you been living and playing in New York City?
I moved to NYC in 2005, but grew up in upstate, NY, and went to college in Northern, NY. Both upstate New York and New York City have such wonderful folk history and I am proud to spread the songs and tradition that have passed through!
How did the Wild Goats come to be?
Brian and I had been performing as a banjo/percussion duo called Dubl Handi with whom we recorded 2 CDs and toured the UK twice. The instrumentation and upbeat rhythms really gave the band a dance-able quality and we had a lot of fun! However, we wanted to fill out the sound a bit more for larger shows and decided to add a guitar, and some sort of bass. Our good pal Sam Kulik joined us on tuba and trombone, and we’ve had a rotating cast of guitar players.
The name Wild Goats seemed perfect for us. We are folky-and natural like goats, and our music feels new and uplifting, and perhaps a little wild. And it’s easy to spell and say (really helpful in crowded loud bars and people are asking about the band!)
How do you choose the music you perform with your band?
We try to pick tunes that feel will make you want to dance. Banjo tunes with a lot of drive (oldtime, and fingerpicking), a lot of feeling and pulse. For singing songs, we usually choose great Carter Family, Hank Williams songs, and include some originals.
Do you have any favorite moments from your time as a part of the NYC Folk community?
There have been some really great moments over the years, but this stands out as a recent favorite:
It was pouring down sheets of rain when we arrived at Porch Stomp this past summer, and in the moment when the clouds were heaviest, I saw a ferry arrive with friends, musicians, and families that came out in support of the event. People were ready to parade with banjos (even though we stayed dry under the kiosk!), kids were ready to play for the Jr. folk events, and all the bands were 100% ready to play! I mean, people really trekked out for the beauty of community and music. There was mud, there was energy, and good vibes. It really was beautiful and reminded me of how we can do great things when we support each other!
Do you have one piece of advice for up-and-coming folk artists or artists just entering the folk scene?
Never compare yourself to another person or artist’s work. Believe in the truth, strength and passion that you have in yourself and for your art. Make beautiful things that help and inspire independence and creativity in others.
Last but not least, where can we find out more about all of the things that you do?
You can find out more information at www.hilaryhawkemusic.com and http://www.thewildgoats.com
Video was shot by BEEHiVE Productions at Spaceworks Williamsburg. For information about how you can utilize Spaceworks facilities, visit: