Mayer Hawthorne, the Michiganite-by-way-of-L.A. musician, makes his debut here on Stones Throw with a great collection of ‘70s throwback soul music. My first thought upon listening to him was, “This is a guy who knows his Tower of Power and Average White Band, probably some Holland-Dozier-Holland, this guy gets it.” Hawthorne isn’t going to blow you away with his vocals, and he doesn’t leave much space for any band members to get flashy, but it’s not really necessary when you’ve got the collection of songs that he does. It’s not the most groundbreaking material, but it sticks with you, with great hooks and grooves. I can’t stop listening to “Maybe So, Maybe No.” There. I said it. This album feels good, and it’s easy to get lost in. He can lay down a ballad, like “I Wish It Would Rain,” but he can also cook up a Motown shuffle like “Make Her Mine.” I think some people are going to want to write him off as some sort of appropriating hipster looking to cash in on a niche market, but I don’t believe that’s what going on here. Part of this belief comes from seeing him in concert, and hearing him cover “Work to Do.” When it’s natural and it comes from a genuine place, it just feels right. And this feels right. Don’t fight it. There’s a great collection of soul songs waiting to find a place in your rotation.
|Title:||Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement|