Have you ever let a stranger become someone you love?

A lyric from a song on The Other Side, the new independently released full length album by Dawn and Hawkes.

Self-produced and recorded at home studios around Austin, the ten tracks on The Other Side chronicle a year when Chris Hawkes and Miranda Dawn packed away all of their belongings and traveled the country. Along the journey, the couple encountered mortality, grief, and an unwavering compassion for differing perspectives.

In a time when the world seems more divided than ever, this album explores themes of empathy, hope, and finding our common humanity. "'Promised Land' was the first song we wrote for this album; it seemed to set the tone for the nine subsequent songs to follow, all exploring the theme of empathizing with the other side," recounts Miranda Dawn. "We hope that you will hear this album and share it with someone you love, because these are anthems of compassion for everyone who's ever felt on 'The Other Side.'"

The lyrics ask:

Will you reach for my hand and take me to your promised land if I’m standing all alone?

Will you say my name even if we don’t look the same? Will you see my face in your own?

Could I be your daughter? Could I be your son? Have you ever let a stranger become someone you love? 

Miranda says, “I was on Facebook scrolling through my feed and I was disheartened seeing friends and family arguing and fighting and unfriending each other over differing opinions viewpoints and sides of arguments. I pulled out my guitar and began to sing around a feeling of wanting to remind everyone that we are all sitting around the same table and what if we were to reach out while remembering that we’re all in this together?

Oh I know, the ache of a heart unspoken. Oh I know, we are all children beholden.

Dawn then brought the song seed to her husband, songwriter Chris Hawkes, to continue the writing process. Dawn and Hawkes perform together as a folk-duo, touring the country. The couple formed Dawn and Hawkes in 2012 after a chance meeting on an Austin dance floor. Soon after meeting, the pair started scheduling songwriting sessions and eventually a tour that blossomed into a relationship. After releasing their first EP together back in 2012, the duo set off on the road playing over 700 shows together across the US and abroad in Denmark, Germany, and Australia. Over that span, the pair has opened for Americana legends such as Patty Griffin, The Old 97s, and Robert Earl Keen. 

A few weeks after starting the song, the duo toured through Nashville and stopped by the house of their friend Michaela Anne, also a songwriter. They completed ‘Promised Land’ with Michaela, sitting around her kitchen table, singing in three part harmony and adding these lyrics;

Will you sing along even if you don’t know my song will you raise your voice and harmony?

Could I be your daughter? Could I be your son? Have you ever let a stranger become someone you love?

Dawn says, “We sat around the table, talking all night about the current events in our country, people who are most vulnerable and needing help ...we imagined being in another’s shoes, and asking would you want your son or daughter treated in the way a stranger has been treated?”

Michaela Anne says, “I met Dawn and Hawkes years ago at Kerrville folk fest as we all were at the beginnings of our careers as songwriters and touring musicians. We’ve stayed connected through the years as supporters of each other. Years ago they came through Nashville and we sat at my kitchen table and Miranda presented this song idea. We started talking about empathy and loving one another and how much harder it is to hate “the other” when that other has a personal connection to you. When you see them up close. The song feels more relevant than ever. Or maybe history shows the idea of radical empathy never loses relevance. They released a new album with this song on it. They’re some of my favorite earth angels.”

Hawkes says, “Though the song was recorded and released recently, it was written nearly two years ago, and we wrote it with hope that these lyrics would become less relevant and needed in our world, not more, as time goes on.”

The duo stored most of their belongings and lived on the road full time while writing and recording for their newest album The Other Side. Dawn and Hawkes recorded "Promised Land" along with several other songs from the album at a house in Austin known as The House of Songs. The house is home base for a collaborative organization between American musicians and artists from all over the world who visit to co-write with Austin songwriters and literally find harmony between different countries and cultures.

Written by Miranda Dawn, Chris Hawkes and Michaela Anne – Filmed at The House of Songs by Paul Pryor.

CLICK to LISTEN or download the album on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon...

CLICK to LISTEN or download the album on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon...