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 Smoke Fairies are a new British female duo I urge you strongly to check out. When I first saw them live, I couldn’t talk for a while. I don’t intend to talk about them much now. Just listen. They are worth your time.
“Now The Green Blade Rises” (download):