“Sometimes, you just know it’s the right thing to do.” – PEANUT BUTTER WOLF ON SIGNING MAYER HAWTHORNE TO STONES THROW LABEL (Stones Throw Biography.)
Mayer Hawthorne’s debut album released in 2009 titled “A Strange Arrangement” had me thinking from a musical and cultural point of view. What constitutes ‘a strange arrangement’, or more to the point, what constitutes his strange arrangement? One can only assume having not heard the answer from the blue-eyed multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer/song writer, audio engineer and DJ himself. Is it the falsetto melody and harmonies far removed from the fixed paradigms of commercial radio appeal? Is it the much talked about white boy emulating the sounds of a bygone era dominated by a rich Black culture? Could it be the guileless, wide-eyed innocence of his lyrical content juxtaposed to the lyrical emptiness heard in generic radio culture we are submerged in? I may be thinking far too much into this, but his strange arrangement comes at a time when the likes of Mark Ronson, Janelle Monae, Cee-Lo, Duffy, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Jamie Lidell, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (to name but a few) are bringing back the Motown sound to a wider audience, deconstructing the soul sound and injecting their own adaptation of soul music into the industry.
Back in Australia to tour as part of Niche Productions next line of superb musical outfits, Mayer Hawthorne and the County will be gracing our shores on the 19th of February, 2011 at the Manning Bar in Sydney. Hawthorne is one of the most refreshing artists to come from the prestigious Stones Throw label and it’s no surprise when his production keeps in essence the spirit of soul music, paying respect to original mentors of this sound. His debut album ‘A Strange Arrangement’ is stripped back, uncomplicated, warm and infectious. Hawthorne has openly confessed original soul musicians such as Curtis Mayfield, Smokey Robinson, Barry White, Isaac Hayes as his strong influences which are apparent on this album, with a strong affinity and respect for the late great Hip Hop producer J DILLA.
I was privileged to attend last years Basement gig which saw Mayer Hawthorne and Theo Parrish on the same bill in January, 2010. The room peaked full capacity before Hawthorne entered the stage, and to my surprise, the crowd dissipated revealing a handful of Theo Parrish devotees. Sydney was in love with Mayer Hawthorne. His stage presence was cheeky, vocally on point and as a band, The County were incredibly tight! Hawthorne was but a whisper on people’s lips at that point in time only having heard of Mayer Hawthorne’s album at the tail end of 2009. There were heavy murmurs amongst many industry folks regarding this artist, and with the help of the internet buzz surrounding Hawthorne’s successful debut album, his first single “Just ain’t gonna work out/When I said Goodbye” seemed to pop up on facebook and music blogs around the world.
Mayer lives and breathes music producing and performing hip hop under the moniker HAIRCUT, is one third of LA experimental melody driven hip hop outfit NOW ON, and a member ATHLETIC MIC LEAGUE – a hip hop crew of six Mc’s and one DJ. The task of creating his own album as ‘Mayer Hawthorne’ is not just an impressive feat amongst a busy schedule of DJ gigs and performances, but this blue -eyed crooner took on the task of playing most of the instruments on ‘A Strange Arrangement’.
This is going to be one VERY special night of nu soul music with support acts from Melbourne’s phenomenal soul act ELECTRIC EMPIRE, with DJ’s Mike Corbett and Miss Micah (inertia) spinning for the masses!
Tickets available through moshtix!!
JUST AIN’T GONNA WORK OUT
ONE TRACK MIND
MAYER HAWTHORNE INTERVIEW – NEW YORK 2009
Support Act: ELECTRIC EMPIRE EPK
ELECTRIC EMPIRE “BABY YOUR LOVING”