#SupportPGHMusic // Exclusively on HughShows Radio streaming at the bottom of the page, enjoy the entire December 13, 2014 concert of HughShows Live at Eide’s Finale featuring mini sets from acoustic and solo versions of my favorite Pittsburgh bands during the marathon 6 hour concert. //

“By the side of the sleepy canal . . .” and a beckoning bed of strings. So begins The Hale & Hearty, the debut release from Heyward Howkins. Produced by Chet Delcampo (an accomplished artist in his own right who has been linked with Smokey Robinson, Kid Congo Powers, David Lovering, and Fred Myrow). Like a patchwork suit, it’s equal parts British tweed (see Nick Drake, John Cale, The Smiths) and dusty American flannel (see Bon Iver, M. Ward, Damien Jurado). Heyward has crafted an album with diverse sounds and surprising arrangements that compliment, but never overwhelm, his evocative melodies and lyrics. Paying tribute to his family’s long and storied history, Heyward takes his name from his five-times grandfather Thomas Heyward (dubbed “The Singing Signer”), founding father and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Other members of the Heyward family are called out in the song Spanish Moss, featuring the lyrics, “Brimmed hats on babes in waiting / Magnolia is housing / Heywards on cotton couches.” References to Savannah cotton magnate Jacob Guerard Heyward are contrasted with his middle-class Philadelphia existence, which Heyward sings about with love and empathy, “My city’s cold and naked / Who’ll wrap an arm around it?”

Philadelphian Heyward Howkin’s debut album, “The Hale & Hearty” was recently released and has the distinction of having a favorite of mine in Shannon McArdle contributing vocals on the last track, ‘Hudson Piers‘. My thanks to Heyward for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

Thanks, Heyward. Healthy hatred of all PGH sports teams, huh? Right back at ya bro! The Flyers? Phhhttt…