Stones Throw Announces New Artist Mayer Hawthorne


When famed record collector and Stones Throw label head Peanut Butter Wolf first heard Mayer Hawthorne’s music, he couldn’t comprehend that it was what it was: “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.” And indeed he did play all the instruments and sang all the songs on his debut record, A Strange Arrangement.

Hawthorne, a 29 year-old white kid from Ann Arbor, has produced a album’s worth of stunning soul songs that eschew the retro tag that was so easily assignable to, say, an Amy Winehouse, in favor of something completely new. While the imprint of Curtis Mayfield (check Mayer’s impeccably smooth falsetto), Dozier & Holland and other classic soul songwriters is evident in these songs, the album drips with a sound as influenced by the beat-heavy hip-hop generation that Hawthorne comes from, as much as it does Motown or Muscle Shoals. From doo-wop handclaps and harmonies to Charles Wright-esque uptempo funk numbers, this is pure soul songwriting in its most modern form.

Check out the video for his hit single “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” here:

1. We Made
2. A Strange Arrangement
3. Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out
4. Maybe So, Maybe No
5. Your Easy Lovin
6. I Wish It Would Rain
7. Make Her Mine
8. One Track Mind
9. The Ills

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