Caleb Hawkins News

New single Virginia out now! 

My new single Virginia is out wherever streaming music is played, it's a bit of a different one from me and yet still familiar… I hope you enjoy it and the message. There's also a full production breakdown over on Patreon for those who want to support me and get behind-the-scenes information and even life stories told in the format of text and for the visually impaired I read it to you like an audiobook! You can find the song on Bandcamp as well over Here

But for five bucks a month on Patreon, you can help me keep the lights on and make a big impact on my ability to keep releasing music this year, as I have a LOT I want to share and talk about over there. Patreon is located: Here

Confessions Of A Songsmith 

It’s late on a Thursday evening as I type this, I’m getting a little time to myself to write out the agenda for the next weeks creative endeavors, I found this is my best way to get things done anymore… If I don’t write it down then perform the task and check it off my list, it will take a lot longer for me to get to it. So… I look at the number of projects I have stacking up and it feels like a lot!


There’s songs to mix, videos to edit, graphics to create, databases to enter venue information into and a whole lot of writing and corresponding to do.

Funny thing about being a musician is that you maybe get to spend 10% of your time being doing actual music and the rest of it is mostly spent doing a lot of other things. In 2023 that also means digital media creation and lots of administration tasks. I can see why the stars all hire someone as soon as they make enough money to pay for this to be done for them!

Photography is a big part of being an artist no matter what your main medium might be, and that has been both a blessing and a curse sometimes, but the fact remains that social media demands image, and so does a brand. I went for almost a year where I just couldn’t hardly bring myself to post anything to platforms like instagram or even this site, I was just tired of the constant hype, and to some degree I still refuse to generate unnecessary hype, but I am being much more active in the studio these days and so I suppose I probably should at least tell people about it.

My songs Time and Years have been well received, and every time that happens I keep hoping to make another song, only better! For me I have made a bit of a mental flip from being a performer and live act to being a songsmith who once in a while performs a live show, or manages to release a new video to a fledgling YouTube Channel. But the grind is real, even though I might not be very public about it I do feel like it amps up and goes through ebbs and flows of creative periods. Anyway that is about enough for this post so I will sign off now, and try and have something to share again soon.

New single released: Time  

I just want to take a moment here and say a word of thanks to everybody who helped share the new single! streaming platforms are taking their good old sweet time with launching this release for some reason and I may switch to a new distributor if they can't get their act together... 

But the response from you the listeners over on Bandcamp and on Facebook has been humbling, so thank you! This song all started on my humble studio floor one evening when I sat down on the rug with a guitar and a notebook and scribbled out the opening line and the chorus. The words just hit a flow and I went with it, it's a very simple song with a message I hope people relate to…

I wrote this song while reflecting on the fact that 20 years ago a teenager was sitting in his room listening to a lot of Doc Watson albums and plenty of singer-songwriters as well, and one night that teenager got out some paper and a pencil and began writing his first song! At some point the songs became public, and while they were juvenile and not fully formed yet, there was enough encouragement to keep going. I am glad I did! Time reflects on making life as a creative person, running towards a goal with full speed ahead, the ups and downs of life and the knowledge that win or lose I'm not alone. I think my favorite verse is the last one of the song but I'll let others chime in with what they like best also…


Twenty years of a crazy dream

Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything

The same water that moves the boat

Is the drop that carves the stone



They say time changes everything

Who says "hold the line"

When the rough road

Puts you on the side?


Hot days and starry nights

Old guitars with tarnished strings…

Feelings that money can’t buy 

Doing right on the very first try


I still feel like I always did

I just don’t seem to get ahead

But the plan's the same

Same as it’s ever been…




In the end, we’re all the same

It’s the dreams that build our wings

In the jump, we learn to fly

And it’s love we need 

When we fall. 



New Single Years Released! 

My  new single "Years" is out! 


It's a love song kicking off a planned release later this year of the full album! But I hope you enjoy it wherever you listen to music! 

Little by little 

It's been a busy spring already! I guess it's to be expected but I have been working a lot, some of my corporate clients really came through for me this year making me their go-to technician in the world of equipment repair, which is what I do when I'm not playing music of course…

December and most of January had me working nights for a while which was an adjustment for me, but it also gave me a bit of free time in the late mornings when I'd wake up and have the house to myself while the wife worked her job, so I found myself in a creative season where I'd wake up, brew a pot of tea and sit at my kitchen table and write for 90 minutes every day with an instrument at my side and my favorite pencils and hard bound writing journal in front of me. No laptop, no internet connection, just me and my thoughts and a melody usually coming rather quickly. Doing that every morning for about 45 days really stimulated a creative process that I'm glad I can return to often.

That line of work ended in January but February also continued with a creative streak and I found myself composing more instrumentals and writing musical movements I'll probably be recording, if anything just to be able to have soundtracks for the videos I am writing scripts for now.

The next phase for me is hitting “record” and I have the bar set pretty high for me these days I guess! I've taken a lot of detours musically in the last ten years, and it has been 7 years since I really put out anything serious, which needs to change this year. 4 years ago I lost a dear friend to suicide and I think for a good bit of time after that I needed to grieve, and somehow recording without my friend and producer just wasn't a good feeling so I sort of avoided that aspect of my own personal creative process. 

But I've had time to heal, and I've had time to write what I really truly want to put out into the world, this collection of songs isn't just my most recent batch of 12, this is a body of work that I am very proud of and can't wait to share! These are songs I'll play for the rest of my life, songs that I'll never grow tired of playing for people wherever my music takes me.


Anyway June wants me to throw her ball around so I better wrap this up and get moving!

Back To My Roots 

It's kind of baffling when I look back on it... I have been making music for most of my life and now I have performed live for all of my "adult life" (whatever that is) and yet the goals rarely change.

In March of last year, I was set to make a very decent income from performing in a handful of venues that month, and the momentum was starting to feel like pre-pandemic times again! But in the span of about 48 hours, everything started to fall apart... One venue lost its license to sell alcohol, another decided to just do Karaoke instead of guitar players... The loss was rather staggering to have all at once, but as I have learned to not count money until the invoices have been paid in full I was going to be alright, however, this loss caused me to sit down and take some time to reflect...

Sitting there in my studio I seriously took a hard look at what 20 years had built up, the finite numbers I saw when it came to my social media following, my payments from streaming services... The numbers from online-only musicianship just didn't line up...

I wanted to quit. 

It crossed my mind that I could turn off all social media accounts and cancel the distribution of my art to platforms and just turn out the lights of the compound. 

After 20 years of working, two failed marriages, and many financial losses underlined by poor decision-making and even worse planning I felt like I could cash in my chips, sell off the excess gear and call it a wrap. The problem was I still LIKE playing music! At least I like playing the music I truly care about... Not the random covers. Not the homogenized generic songs that bar gigs reduce you to playing, to keep the patrons buying beer. No, I could leave that stuff behind and never miss it ever again. 

Also for the last several years, I have also been combating hand issues and chronic pain from various injuries that have never fully healed right...

Now I will jump in here and interject in the storyline that in 2020 I started down the path of trying to manage my pain better and so far I have managed little by little to do that and I can safely say that I am doing a lot better. I have scar tissue in my left wrist that has made it a good idea to switch to short-scale guitars and open tunings which have eased up the need to play as many knuckle-straining chord shapes...

Now back to the main story...

I was longing for the songs that I truly love. The ancient tones of generations that came before me... I love the ring of a truly great acoustic instrument under my command and the feel of wood and wire under tension creating a resonance and energy that compels me to strike the notes again and again. 

It was time to level up or shut up...

So for the rest of the year, I played some dates, moved some instruments around, converted my playing to largely short-scale guitars, and logged more hours on the fiddle. I also revived my use of a camera and started shooting YouTube videos again after hitting a nearly all-time low in creation in 2021. 

I arranged with Chris Ulbricht at Indianapolis Violins to create the monster Frankenstein of a fiddle that I now play almost exclusively, and somehow I found that July was the big push to complete a string of dates through some venues regionally before a self-created deadline... 

On August 1st I was officially done.

I played my last bar gig of the year and loaded my PA and all the instruments back into the van one last time after a hard night of struggling to engage with a crowd of people who were there to watch the game and drink cheap booze.

Sitting at my kitchen table with a typewriter, a notepad, and a comfortable playing guitar, a cup of something warm to sip, and usually my dog June curled up at my feet I spent a lot of happy hours last year building my songwriting muscle back up...

For the last 7 years, I have always found one reason or another to postpone making a new album. Lack of budget, time off from performing, or any number of things popped up to give me what I felt was an ironclad excuse for not releasing anything new. The truth was I felt didn't have a whole lot to say, or much drive to express myself. And I needed to reclaim that element of creativity which I had let slide a bit as I mentally clocked in and out from the bar room stage to play covers at shows. 

But suffice it to say when the dust settled over 2022 there is a notebook with the lyrics to some songs that I feel are more authentically "me" than anything I have written in years and the makings of a whole album. 

The real question now is how to fit it all together and make this album... Gear isn't an issue. (I have better stuff than ever before) My studio is more than capable of getting it done. The challenges are more along the lines of the mental gymnastics involved in self-producing, engineering, and performing an album, all without any real backing. I feel my following even after all this time is still so small that crowdfunding probably isn't viable to cover the expenses I will incur during production, and streaming will not recoup my investment in less than 10 years... Still, there's always a way around the mountain so we move forward even if it's an inch at a time...




2022 A Look Back  

So I must admit I had big plans this year to use this space more than I have... Sometimes the hustle of life just gets in the way I suppose!

This was a big year for my YouTube Channel and as of writing this, I have crossed over 400 subscribers there which considering how long I have been uploading on the platform isn't a very large number... But the momentum is enough to keep me moving ahead at a steady speed. As I sit in a coffee shop drinking a steaming cup of spiced tea and stare out the window at the snow in the courtyard I can't help but feel a restless creativity for what 2023 holds!

This was a big year musically speaking, and there's a lot that never got documented very well but I can try and begin here I suppose... So where to start?

In March I went on a quick road trip to Nashville where I sat ten feet from the stage at The Station Inn and watched as a longtime influence on my music performed. Tim O'Brien was as good as he's ever been, and his band was a stellar lineup to say the least... Mike Bubb on upright Bass (longtime John Hartford band member) Casey Dreissen on the mighty 5-string fiddle (Casey has played with everybody) Justin Moses on Banjo and Dobro (Literally one of the most in-demand roots musicians today) and of course Tim performed with his wife Jan beside him singing harmony. 

The show was magical, the melodic movements, the harmony... The song choices were stellar as I expected. Sitting in a row of chairs beside a group of strangers and just listening and watching was fuel for a lot of hard work I came home to tackle... 

Having a conversation with Casey about fiddles after the show prompted me to come home and finagle as best I could a better instrument for myself... It became clear in Nashville that trip that playing the 5-String fiddle is my life's work moving forward and I should probably do it on something that is up to the task. 

Coming home I went to my luthier Chris Ulbricht and expressed my challenges with my current instrument and we agreed on a fine vintage instrument that would make a good candidate for conversion to a 5-stringed fiddle, in the meantime it was on me to shed as much dead weight from my guitar closet and play as many shows as possible to afford the new addition to the arsenal. I did a lot of research and shared my findings with Chris along the way and sent him parts and strings as they arrived from suppliers. Around mid-July, I got the call to come and pick up my fiddle, and to say Chris made my dream come true is an understatement! In August I made a decision that had been brewing since even before my trip to Nashville and that was to take a break from performing in bars and focus more on playing events and listening rooms for the rest of the year at least, it meant a lot of challenges finding work as a performer but at the same time it scaled back the demands on my time and opened up room to tackle YouTube more. 

In all of this, I managed to ramp up my songwriting efforts and thankfully the rewards creatively have been very satisfying. I've found a writing regimen that works pretty efficiently for my style of songwriting and compositional preferences... I will be making a video with a bit more behind-the-scenes look at my process for writing this album but that's for another post. 

In October of every year, I feel like I make a major life change somehow... Either by choice or by accident, and in what the Jewish faith believes to be the new year I found myself doing that again this year.

This year with family and friends gathered in a park, and with all of the bright October colors burning in the trees I married my best friend, my strongest supporter, my right arm, and a constant source of awe and wonder. 

I met Renee years ago when we were both teenagers going to a youth retreat at a church in Cincinnati, all these years later we linked back up and while the story of our joining is hard to fit in this summary of a year, we found ourselves linked up and supporting each other through some very challenging times the last two years. We have carved out a life together that involves three dogs, music, cooking, and lots of creativity. Her blog has a lot of behinds the scenes domestic lifestyle storytelling and so I will link that Here 

As the year comes to a close I find myself reflecting on a full and eventful year that is as action-packed and challenging as it is beautiful. I am ready to meet 2023 head-on with a creative drive and vision mapped out for it that I just can't wait to share with you all! 




Confessions of a songwriter 

It seems odd sometimes I suppose, given everything I've been through that I don't often feel inclined to write about the lower points of life...

There was a time when I got my heart slightly damaged, and I wrote songs about it! After all... Isn't THAT was songwriters do? I've heard lots of jokes about how "you never want to make a songwriter angry" or some such concept...

Truth be told that when I've been at my lowest most heartbroken moments in life I don't really feel like writing a song about it, that if it's any good I might have to perform for the rest of my life! I'm thankful that when I was writing those heavily personal songs, I was even more obscure than I am now and was able to get that out of my system well before people could request the songs at my shows.

I find my satisfaction level with songwriting to come from telling stories and sharing my moments of growth and telling the stories of others, rather than airing out my laundry up on stage.

That being said I may do a series of blogs soon about my writing process, my choice of instrument, pencil and or paper preferences as well while writing songs. 

I am curious to see others writing habits and styles, and maybe if you want to share, you'll leave a comment below about your process?



My Roots 

I got in late last night, nearly midnight I believe it was... I had gone down to play some songs with my good buddy Mitch Ellis who was playing at a Pub in Fairfield Ohio, it felt good to fiddle with a full band for a change, and play the old Bob Wills tune Faded Love once again with a rhythm section! 

Mitch plays a 12 string guitar which takes me all the way back to playing music with my Dad growing up in the greater Cincinnati area as a teenager, so it was a good time all the way around, but the second thing I got excited about was taking a quick exit from the pub and making my way to Jungle Jim's International Market...

How do you describe such a place? I guess you could call it a grocery store that sells food from all over the planet, but it's a store the size of a couple of super Wal Mart stores shoved together! I didn't have a lot of time before closing so I wasn't able to aimlessly wander around and shop like I'd normally do... But I went to England for a quick stroll through the tea aisle to pick up some loose leaf tea, followed by a trip to Sweden for some candy, and I managed to get some dried Hibiscus flowers from India before I swept through the spice aisle for special blends I can only find there...Back to America for a couple of Cincinnati local flavors, before heading out...

My family has shopped at Jungle Jim's since, about as long as I can recall, and it was nice to go back and feel a sense of my origins once again. I didn't think too much about being from Cincinnati growing up, and even when I moved to Indianapolis in 2005 it didn't phase me much. I think it was maybe because "Home" was only a two-hour car ride away.

But my hometown became much more sentimental when I lived in Florida, and I recall sometime around 2015 I found myself eating Skyline Chili at a franchise in Naples Florida... In general, I only ate Skyline a couple of times in my whole life around Cincinnati, it wasn't really a flavor that I had much use for... But somehow being 1200 miles from my home and family, that familiar taste and smell took me back to Ohio and the river once again, and for all my struggles in Florida at least I could spend $2.89 and eat a Coney and for that brief few bites I was home.

Old cliches about "Home is where you hang your hat" or "Home is where the heart is" always come to mind at different times but I don't always think of "Home" as a location nearly as much as I feel like home is a culture and a grounding. It's where I was rooted, where I was brought up with a screwdriver in one hand and a musical instrument in the other!

Home is the sound of steamboats and barges passing each other while the Ohio River flows under the taught cables of the suspension bridge, it's the winding back roads of Rural Route 1 and the snowy slopes of the Ski resort on one side of the road and Juniper trees with Cardinal nests in them on the other, the smell of fresh-cut hay and diesel tractors running late into the night working the land. Home is many things, it's where the guitars are, it's where the meals are prepared with care and attention to detail, but it's also the faces of people I've grown to love, and a way of life I've learned to appreciate. Cincinnati will always be a place near and dear to my heart though I only make it there a few times a year if I'm lucky. If anybody has a line on some shows out that way, let me know I'd love to play more gigs closer to "Home" 










Beautifully Broken 

Brandi Carlile has a song "The Things I Regret" and in there she has a verse that simply says:

"With the weight of the world resting on my back, 
And the road on which I've traveled is as long as it is cracked 
But I keep pressing forward with my feet to the ground, 
For a heart that is broken makes a beautiful sound"

So earlier this year I found a busted-up violin that needed a little help, my original plan was to have it restored and turned into a 5-string as that's become more of my sound over the last three years or so. The violin had nice wood, good high archings and seemed like a good candidate for my plans, but for a fairly nasty crack in the top... The original neck had been snapped in half and someone had repaired it with some form of epoxy and if you're a fan of antique and vintage instruments like me... Well, that just makes your heart hurt!

After a consult with a few people, it became clear that this violin wasn't really worth restoring to my original plans, as the cost would be rather expensive for an instrument with very little value... So another violin has been selected and at the time of this writing is being worked into the instrument I'm hoping to create my life's work with... However sitting in the case was this broken violin, with some pretty serious scars and some collateral damage from a life well played somewhere. 

Now anybody that knows me, is probably aware that I don't mind getting my own hands dirty on instrument repair, and well... This instrument was already badly damaged anyway and "not worth fixing" so I figured I'd set about doing a little repair work myself... What could it hurt?!

I won't bore people with the details but suffice it to say I did a lot of research and used a fair amount of sharp tools, glue, and spool clamps, and brought this violin back to life, the cost? Well, a couple of small cuts here and there, one or two blisters, but the broken cracks are stronger now than they were as new, the violin sings again! 

What is the point of this blog post? 

Well just because you are broken, doesn't always mean the experts can determine your value by your flaws! A broken violin deemed ready for the woodpile in fact still has a beautiful sound left inside of it, and a broken heart can still love, possibly stronger once healed. 

They like to say the soundpost of a violin which is a small dowel that runs from top to back of the violin for support is the "soul" of a violin. I propose then that if the soundpost is the soul then the top is the heart and lungs!

A broken heart can be rebuilt, and a soul can be renewed, even reset as often is needed in life... Every dream that becomes shattered or true can be renewed, but sometimes there's work involved.

After hearing this violin wake up and come to life for the last week now I can't fathom anyone ever thinking it ever being worthless! Every broken-hearted person I've ever known has still had a song in them somewhere!