Since his debut album For Him and the Girls in 1999, Hawksley Workman has tried a variety of musical styles. His latest endeavour finds him working with director Christian Barry on The God That Comes, a self-described "rock 'n' roll cabaret" that receives a work-in-progress showing tonight at SummerWorks. The Juno-winning singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist spoke this week about passion, creation and artful quirks (or "isms") that need to be nurtured. "It's a one-man show, and I'm that one man. I play three characters. There's very little dialogue; it's mostly music. I didn't want to make a musical where I sing dialogue – I wanted great songs.
"I've played a lot of different games in the last few years. I've chased a few things. But I find it hard to trim away my 'isms' to be 100-per-cent commercial. At the end of the day, I only am who I am. Instead of shaving off the 'isms,' they need to be nurtured. And they have been nurtured in the creation of this production, because it was just such a sprawl creatively – a sprawl like I remember from 10 years ago.
"You know, with music it's really a business about what's in fashion now. You look at some of the festival lineups and it looks to me like there's a very exclusive club. But what I'm getting with this window into theatre, the exchange is somehow different. They're looking at me, they're wondering what I'm up to and they're saying, 'Hey, I wanna have that.' I don't know if this is going to take over my life for the next two or three years or not. But I believe in the music that was created for this show. I spent a great deal of energy, and I think it was informed from a real authentic passion. This cabaret has me being me again." – B.W.