Guitar & trombone pace between the aisles under a cloudless sky on the debut album from Pat Irwin & J. Walter Hawkes.

Its title, Wide Open Sky, is appropriate imagery. The above plane is expansive and reaches out infinitely. The music here is in no hurry. Like wind where there is no weather, it moves on its own grace. The guitar rushes on first and the trombone follows twirling out like a fallen leaf.


Musicians Pat Irwin and J. Walter Hawkes have made careers working in New York City as session players and score composers. Irwin was a member of the B-52s for the meat of their career, until 2008, and has scored indies, documentaries and cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants. Most recently, Irwin was the music behind Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling, the Netflix special, and performed on the band SUSS’s debut album, Ghost Box. Hawkes, originally from Missouri, is a 4-time Emmy winner, having recorded with Elvis Costello, Norah Jones and others. He’s also composed music for TV shows, including the beloved Blue’s Clues.


For the run-up to the Wide Open Sky, “In Another Time” was selected as the first single.

It starts the album off with a hi-hat Casio beat, then leans in. Irwin fingerpicks along and when Hawkes hits the trombone it takes off. Their instruments combine for an ambient free-jazz experience, both numbing and awakening.  


The duo’s collaborative album was self-released last month through Clandestine Label Services. The songs on Wide Open Sky are shambolically mellon collie, calmly nipping at the sensors in the ears that connect to the spinal cord.

“Automatic 3” uses the preset beats of “an organ found in the streets of LIC.”

Sounds like the alien house band shaking it up in a cocktail cruiseship lounge. It’s more uptempo than the rest, like a lightweight Stereolab. It’s the Western sky that opens up in “Apache.” Irwin’s guitar lick sounds like a spaghetti western theme, with extra spaghetti, while Hawkes sneaks in with Mariachi-like trombone snaps.


Hawkes excels on “February” and the title track. The engagement of hearbeat guitar-picking with the trombone allows his notes to drift into the air. Together Hawkes and Irwin have given the world a contemplative album, an easy stride through a free day. Pat Irwin & J. Walter Hawkes will play the Troost in Brooklyn, New York on January 5.












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