With the release of 2010’s Leche, Meredith Godreau, aka Gregory And The Hawk, has filed the latest chapter in a personal history of heart-warming songs rendered in her mellifluous and magical voice. We found Gregory and the Hawk by accident. We were having some pints at Southpaw in Brooklyn when the band came on stage and Meredith began to sing, instantly stunning everyone in the room. She was in the studio a month later beginning work on her FatCat debut.
A native New Yorker with a captivating voice and a clear gift for songwriting, Meredith began playing both piano and violin from an early age, switching to guitar through high school and college. She began playing solo shows in small venues around New England, and made a few cds to hand out at shows which proved incredibly popular. Word spread fast, and the 2006 heyday of myspace added rocket fuel to the fire. When we talked with her about working together after the Southpaw show, we had no idea that her songs had already sold 15,000 copies, had not seen the 17 pages of cover versions on youtube, and had never been to one of her (more common) solo shows.
The name Gregory And The Hawk was conceived in 2003, initially devised to avoid her being perceived or pigeonholed as a female singer-songwriter (though, perhaps ironically, when pressed for a list of influences Meredith cites Nick Drake, Liz Phair, PJ Harvey). Meredith remained playing alone under that name for a few years, until she met Mike McGuire in New York in 2005. The two played live shows together for several months before teaming up with bassist Jeff Ratner and drummer Adam Christgau (both of New York band Paper And Sand). The four of them recorded the ‘Boats And Birds EP’, which they self-released in 2006.
Soon after, the four friends moved apart, and so Meredith began playing live with just Jeff on upright bass, and herself on acoustic guitar and vocals. This was how she played most of the shows to support ‘In Your Dreams,’ the debut album, again self-released in 2007. The only players on ‘In Your Dreams’ were Meredith, Mike McGuire (who also engineered most of it), and Susan Ambrose. The recording of 2008’s ‘Moenie and Kitchi’ was somewhat different; while Mike, Susan and a host of others contributed, many of the instruments were played by the album’s producer Adam Pierce (Mice Parade) - a setup which has continued through the recording of Leche.
Photo by Annie Racz