EP Review: Dechen Hawk's Jus' Sayin's Self-Titled Debut Release

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Dechen Hawk's new project Jus' Sayin' is definitely worth saying something about.

Local Boulder artist Dechen Hawk may be best known for his solo work around the Front Range, where he has played for years after studying at Naropa University under Bill Douglas, Art Lande, and Janet Feder. Hawk has released six solo albums, and has been a part of numerous singer/songwriter outfits and projects throughout Colorado. He’s shared the stage with acts including Martin Sexton, Leon Russell, Big Gigantic, and Analog Sun, to name a few. Recently, however, Hawk has a new project: Jus’ Sayin’. The neo-soul, funk/jazz five-piece is comprised of a number of local heavy-hitters, with Hawk (vocals/keys), Mirco Altenbach (sax/synth), Colin Robison (guitar/vocals), Eric Imbrosciano (drums), and Ben Rubin (bass).

Jus' Sayin'.

Jus' Sayin'.

After several successful live performances, Hawk decided to head to Alcheh & Hunt in Boulder, CO to record Jus’ Sayin’s debut EP. The self titled, five-track release features the talents of a slightly different lineup than the live-performance group. Daniel Alcheh (strings/piano/EFX/synth), Eliot Hunt (drums/keys/synth/mellotron), Kip Kuepper (bass), and Robbie Nevil (guitar) all play on the EP, with Hawk (vocals/guitar/keys/synth) as the common denominator between Jus’ Sayin’s live performances and recorded work.

Dechen Hawk.

Dechen Hawk.

Jus’ Sayin’s debut single from the new release is “Drug of Choice”, a very catchy track with sprinkled staccato beats, smooth vocals, and poppy synth sounds. It’s a perfect example of what happens when Hawks’ skillful songwriting comes together with his tenor voice, seasoned professionalism, and pop sensibilities. It’s upbeat with a great hook. “Drug of Choice” is the must-hear song of this release, and the perfect track to add to your favorite summer playlist.

Listen to “Drug of Choice” for yourself here:

“Lost in Line” is the next tune on Jus’ Sayin’, and showcases Hawk’s soulful influences with tasty sax bits. It’s got a great percussive intro, and is the perfect lead-in to the EP’s next track, “Tenderly”. “Tenderly” starts with funky synth sounds dripping in 90s R&B throwback nostalgia. It’s got a great groove and almost feels like a sultry, soulful lullaby.

“Beautifully Back” is the ballad of the EP. It’s a bit slow, but tastefully composed by Daniel Alcheh. There’s an elegance to this one, with strings performed by the Beijing Chamber Ensemble that were actually recorded in China. James Mihaley garners lyrical credit on this tune.

The EP closes with “What You Won’t Do For Love”, which begins with Hawk’s crooning vocals. This track feels a bit more stripped-down than the others, but still keeps your attention.

Overall, Jus’ Sayin’ is a polished release that showcases Hawk's credibility as an accomplished musician and songwriter.

Jus' Sayin' live.

Jus' Sayin' live.

Jus’ Sayin’ is available for purchase digitally, but will also be available in physical form this Friday, June 17th, at The Laughing Goat, where the band will perform the EP live and celebrate Hawk’s birthday! The show starts at 8PM- be there and grab your own copy of Jus’ Sayin’. Check out the Facebook event and keep up with Jus’ Sayin on Facebook.

-Hannah

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All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured. Special credit to Zach Dahmen for his work on this feature.