Growth & Collective Inspirations

As the only constant and founding member of Gregory and the Hawk, Meredith Godreau is no stranger to self-promotion and the wonders of 21st century marketing.

Despite a number of years in the music business, Moenie and Kitchie is Meredith’s first release on a record label, having previously “reacted to what I was asked for by people who would find me online,” by self-releasing two previous offerings, Boats and Birds and In Your Dreams, in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The use of the Internet has been integral to Godreau’s career and provided both an outlet for unsigned work, and a motivation to continue her musical endeavours. “I was confident because I was making copies for people who already wanted them. And then I got to the point where I wanted to try and see if I could get even more people into it because it was fun. I did it myself because it was the easiest way and the only option and it just sort of worked out.”

Godreau speaks of music as omnipresent in her life, stemming from her mother’s family who “sing together a lot” and will organise cabarets for weddings and special events. Her choice to take the moniker Gregory and the Hawk was partly aspirational. “In the back of my mind I really would prefer to have a band and be playing in real venues so it was sort of a hopeful thing.” Godreau wanted to have audiences associate her with a band dynamic and the sort of communal music, which encourages social interaction. “I wanted to make music that people could listen to when they weren’t just by themselves. It’s a nice thing to write music that people can listen to when they’re just hanging out and having a good time.”

Although the impetus of songs is Godreau’s, the final sound is open to her fellow performers. “I’ll write something that’s very standard and try to add to it. It’s usually just a simple arrangement, like a vibe, I’ll usually write it myself then give it up to somebody else’s ideas.” Having worked with Mike McGuire, Jeff Ratner, Susan Ambrose and Adam Christgau, each accompanist brings a new element to Gregory and the Hawk’s work. With Jeff, Meredith saw a “funky kind of bluesgrass thing that could happen between us. He gives you a lot of room to sort of experiment with your singing”, while McGuire, “does his own music which is sort of like jazz and house dance music… I guess I just really like the variety, and it’s not really set but at the moment Mike and I are playing a kind of really chilled out duo set together, playing electric guitar instead of acoustic and it’s a little bit dreamy.”

Godreau’s voice is child-like and captivating on opener, Oats we Sow, as the musical medley of Macguire’s accompaniment intersperses around her wistful lyrics, and Voice Like a Bell soars around the regular strum of Godreau’s own acoustic guitar. The more upbeat, electronically-fused Ghost indicates McGuire’s influences, with a brass section thrown in for variety and good measure. Gregory and the Hawk occupy an interesting space between band and solo act. Despite avoiding this label, Godreau’s work is inherently female singer-songwriter, but it is clear that the harmonies over which her voice hovers are a collective effort. More 3am chill-out than height of party beats, Moenie and Kitchi certainly has its communal appeal. Having settled on a current collective, Gregory and the Hawk plan to “solidify the line up for a couple of tours and take everyone as many places as possible and see how it goes.” Godreau is thirsty for travel and to further build on her MySpace ability to reach the “many people that you wouldn’t have the money or the means to reach otherwise.”

Ruby Beesley