A deep-voiced, working-class songwriter with an affinity for ’50s-era crooners, American country music and grand orchestration, Richard Hawley has paid tribute to his hometown of Sheffield, England, through songwriting that serves as a sepia-toned photograph of timeless places and love-troubled lives. While it may seem as if nothing changes in Hawley’s stylishly retro work, sixth album Truelove’s Gutter (Mute) is a deceptively tranquil sea change of sonics—employing glass harmonica, waterphone and other ethereal sounds—and themes, with the album delving into lyrical topics of dashed hopes, drug addiction and, of course, love gone wrong. Befitting its title, Truelove’s Gutter finds Hawley trawling Sheffield’s shadows and back alleys on his most spacious, soul-baring album to date. Hawley is guest editing magnetmagazine.com this week. Read our Q&A with him.
Hawley: The 13th Floor Elevators were another great American band, which I am sure you are aware of. I just wanted to let you know about Sign Of The Three Eyed Men, the amazing 10-CD boxed set that International Recordings has released recently. It is simply the most essential music, alongside with the Velvets, Chocolate Watchband, Electric Prunes and Captain Beefheart (amongst many many others). It opens windows, doors and ceilings. In fact, it blows the house up. Video after the jump.