Baritone balladry from Sheffield’s son of sadness

Hawley

I’m a bit of an old romantic at heart and I’m a sucker for a rich
baritone voice, a lovelorn melancholy ballad and an orchestral
arrangement.

My favourite singers include Scott Walker, Roy Orbison
and, of course, Sheffield’s son of sadness, Richard Hawley.
 
For his latest single, Hawley has made a brave choice, but he’s also
written one of his finest songs ever. For Your Lover Give Some Time is
so good that it sounds like a standard from the ’50s or ’60s. It could
have been sung by Matt Monro or Sinatra.
 
Over a simple, sparse arrangement of just acoustic guitar, cello and
violin, Hawley croons this gorgeous love song that he wrote especially
for his wife, Helen. When he promises to drink a little less, give up
cigarettes and come home early every now and then, it makes me weak at the
knees.

You can listen to it on Spotify:  http://tinyurl.com/ksrhbc

In an article in the Sheffield Telegraph, Hawley said: “I wrote it for my wife.

“It’s about the two of us getting older together.

“I’ve always thought the strongest marriages are the ones where you can have a laugh at yourself, and we can certainly do that.
 
“She’s normally quite taciturn about my music. I could have good reviews piled from floor to ceiling but I’d still have to wash the pots. That’s how it should be, it keeps you grounded. When she heard  this one she said ‘that’s really nice’ which in her terms is a bit
like getting honours from the Pope!
 
“I wrote it on the spot one day and it’s the best song I’ve ever written. 

“I think it’s a fairly honest and slightly wry look at lovers. It’s a warning not to take things for granted – now and again you should buy a bunch of flowers randomly. Don’t let the calendar push your buttons. Don’t buy flowers just on Valentine’s Day.
 
“It’s just being honest about the way love changes. As time goes by you become more aware of the other’s weaknesses but because you love them, it’s OK.”
 
The single precedes Hawley’s sixth album, Truelove’s Gutter, which is
out on September 21. It’s rumoured to be his most experimental and
darkest work yet, with lengthy orchestral passages and some strange
sounds thrown into the mix. 

In a press statement, Hawley said: “I use a load of odd sounds on this
album that are not heard on many other records. The sounds in my head
on a lot of the tracks – I didn’t even know what they were called! I
wanted it to be a listening experience from start to finish, where you
couldn’t just pause it and go off and watch Coronation Street or
whatever. Sonically, it flows. It’s not jumping all over the place. It
just has a mood that goes through the whole thing.”
 
In a Twitter conversation I had with The Guardian’s rock critic,
Alexis Petridis, he told me it was Hawley’s best work to date.
 
I’m already putting money on it winning next year’s Mercury Music
Prize – and I haven’t even heard it yet.
 
I have, however, heard a live version of another track from the new
album – Ashes On The Fire. It’s available on the CD of Hawley’s
legendary gig at the Devil’s Arse caves in the Peak District, last
Christmas.

It’s a lovely, country-tinged ballad about a man who late
one night leaves a love letter for his woman, only to find the
following morning that’s she’s burnt it on the fire. Oooh, I can feel
myself going weak at the knees again.
 
Highlights of the Devil’s Arse gig are available on Youtube. Here’s
Hawley’s take on Presley’s Devil In Disguise.

See what he did there?
 

 

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