Richard Hawley, Lady’s Bridge

Richard Hawley, Lady's Bridge

Richard Hawley has been around for longer than you think. Richard’s been here the whole time, in the corner of your mind, in the corner of your room. It’s easy to see, though, why artists such as Hawley are quickly looked over are passed over. We’re not talking about some hunky white guy who does lots of sit ups and tries to act like a rapper. We’re not even talking about someone who “dances.”

No, Mr. Hawley wears suits and plays huge guitars and writes songs with so many hooks that there’s no possible means of escape without your mind changed. Mr. Hawley carries a torch, carries a tune, and will sweep you away with lush string arrangements, bittersweet melodies, and a voice richly characterized by cigarettes and late nights.

Take the title track, “Valentine,” which is slowly strummed and gently crooned until the chorus crashes in and crescendos into a heart-crushing dose of loneliness: “I don’t need no Valentine’s, no, no / I don’t need no Roses / ‘Cause they just take me back in time, no, no / Now you’re not here.” Ouch. Hell, yeah! There’s a tenderness and maturity here that’s, for some strange reason, all too rare. More! More!

“Roll River Roll” — are you kidding? A song about rivers? Yes, and so beautifully done. Tinkling piano, brushed drums, blues-runs, and sizzling cymbal crashes. Quite unlike the production quality of the previous cut, there’s now an open-air quality before the tears dry and it gets “serious.” Now we’re getting into the boppier, clicking of the swingin’ double bass and that old rock n’ roll sound. A danceable number with equal amounts of musical muscle and sparkling hope: “Take her in your arms and never be afraid.” Indeed.

“Dark Road” has a bit of an ambling, country flavor, with echoes of lonesome guitars carrying cursed men away from their past/present/futures. Still, these sentiments and heavy burdens will be one day laid down and forgotten. “The Sea Calls” is a similar portrait of a man that’s moving on (but for different reasons this time). It employs an enchantment and story that’s in waltz-time, with subtleties of instrumentation and where Hawley’s voice clings to notes like he’s being reluctantly being torn away from them.

Though there’s familiarity here, there is also comfort here. This is a piece of work that’s varied, with moods and colors that never allow interest to wane. Tenderness, honesty, and songcraft abound and are equally at home. These are the types of songs that never age. And with Lady’s Bridge, like with his previous albums (all highly recommended), no stone is left unturned for the listener.

(Mute Records -- 43 Brook Green, London, W6 7EF ENGLAND; http://www.mute.com/; Richard Hawley -- http://www.richardhawley.co.uk/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, November 17th, 2007. Filed under Reviews.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply


H-Town Mixtape

Upcoming Shows

Categories

Archives

Recent Posts

Links

Our Sponsors