Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Mayer Hawthorne is about to blow up big time. His full-length debut album hits stores on September 8th, 2009, and is an amazingly authentic take on Motown and Detroit soul from the 60’s. This is nu-skoool soul that you could play for your Mom and before you knew it, she’d be up and dancing dirty with your Dad in the living room. Meshing the sounds of Smokey, Marvin, Curtis, and the Temps, Mayer Hawthorne’s album, “A Strange Arrangement” plays like a warped 33 from your parents old LP collection, but also manages to sound like the next shit at the same time.
Growing up on the outskirts of Detroit, Hawthorne listened to the rich musical history of Motown via all the amazing radio stations in the Detroit area (104.3 WOMC!!) and felt connected to the sound and emotion of that eraand now he’s put out one of the smoothest soul albums I’ve heard in years. Some of the tracks sound just a little too close to the artists he’s paying respect tofor example “Your Easy Lovin’ Aint Pleasin” sounds like a sped up “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes, and “The Ills” could be an unreleased Curtis Mayfield track, but cuts like “Shiny and New”, “Maybe So, Maybe No”, and title track “A Strange Arrangement” reveal Hawthorne’s skills at their best. Overall, the album is an absolute burner. Infectious, nostalgic, emotional, smooth, and really really fucking groovy. I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that he’s a pasty white dude, and that not only does he have a fantastic voice, but also plays all the instruments on the album! Wow.
Mayer Hawthorne & The County are making their Toronto debut at The Drake Hotel on Sunday, September 27th. I’ll be there and wearing my heart on my sleeve. Edit: I was there! Check him out immediately! Peace.