“Go back to your Hemingway, your F. Scott. Maybe there’s something there that he hid,” are the mysterious words that ended The Hewitt Family Band’s winter tour on Sunday, January 12 in Seattle. Named for Washington native Miles Hewitt, the group strummed their way through the Pacific Northwest, ending their expedition with a bang in Seattle’s Skylark Cafe.
They played a total of ten shows. While the band is comprised of four talented musicians, their driving force seems to be college-aged Hewitt’s ability to compose lyrics. The young man has received national and international recognition for his poetry, and pairing his words with music is nothing short of genius.
His lyrics in “Don’t Shoot the Messenger” are internationally commended on the UK blog “Right Chord Music” because Hewitt is able to “instantly [grab] your attention through his way with words.” This track is one of 16 on a cd called “Empire” released by the band last August.
Playing their last show of the tour with a few other groups, The Hewitt Family Band closed the night by playing only a handful of songs including “Don’t Shoot the Messenger”, “Ink Runs Black”, and “Where the Clouds Slip Slowly By”–all written by Hewitt. There weren’t more than 30 people present, and certainly some of them were there to see the preceding bands. It’s also likely that one or two of them had simply wandered in by accident. That being said, the room was full, and the audience seemingly intrigued.
I first heard Hewitt’s lyrical prowess about a year ago, completely by mistake. I was working through some papers when a group meeting suddenly commenced in the room I was in, complete with guest speaker Miles Hewitt. I was clearly not supposed to be there, but didn’t want to make a scene. As opposed to rudely leaving, I settled myself in for what looked like an hour of me quietly pretending not to be there. As he began to present his poetry, I became entranced and the hour slipped away all too quickly, and thus, over a year later, I was quite excited to hear that he would be touring through Seattle.
Hewitt is a poet, and the essence of this is not lost in his lyrics. In his track “Where the Clouds Slip Slowly By”, he illustrates for his listeners a cryptic yet moving image:
“The day bled red as the boat went down the stream/
There is no in between, not in friendship or in war./
I stood rooted in the foothills and the years were all the same/
And a friend is not afraid. A friend calls out your name.”
For playing in a small, dark, backstreet cafe, The Hewitt Family Band rocked their last night on tour, projecting his listeners into lyrical paradise–or as he says–“I was living in Paradise, though you might call it ‘war’.”
While Hewitt himself didn’t seem particularly talkative onstage, he’s got a lot to say in those prosaic lyrics of his.