Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement (2xLP)
Mayer Hawthorne grew up just outside of Detroit, and vividly remembers, as a child, driving with his father and tuning the car radio in to the rich soul and jazz history the region provided. “Most of the best music ever made came out of Detroit,” claims the singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, who counts Isaac Hayes, Leroy Hutson, Mike Terry, and Barry White among his influences, but draws the most inspiration from the music of Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, and the legendary songwriting and production trio of Dozier, Holland, and Holland Jr.
The “retro” tag is added to almost any contemporary work that sounds like it was originally recorded between 1966 and 1974, and Hawthorne, among the newest contributors to the genre, is aware of how trends come and go. After being introduced to Stones Throw label head Peanut Butter Wolf, even the label boss was skeptical. “He showed me two songs and I didn’t understand what I was listening to,” Wolf recalls. “I asked him if they were old songs that he did re-edits of – I couldn’t believe they were new songs and that he played all the instruments.”
Mark Ronson: “I have no idea what this is, old or new, but it’s fucking good” Rolling Stone: “3 1/2 Stars (Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out)” Jason Bently, Morning Becomes Eclectic, KCRW: “I think this is my new favorite song of all time (Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out)” Gilles Peterson: “One of the biggest records of 2009!”