Mayer Hawthorne, a 33-year-old singer from Ann Arbor, MI, started off as a rapper and was toying with the Motown Sound when a record producer heard him and immediately signed him to a contract. Hawthorne has released two albums, "A Strange Arrangement" in 2009 and "How Do You Do" in 2011 and has received critical acclaim for both. While he is not garnering much air play on corporate radio stations, college and independent radio have been highlighting him since the release of "A Strange Arrangement."
"How Do You Do" has spawned several minor college radio hits, especially the catchy "Long Time," which describes the fall of Detroit and its impending resurgence. His influences include Booker T., Isaac Hayes, and Smokey Robinson. And he sounds like he has been making this music for decades with a soulful voice and a retro, mid-1960s sound. The library holds both records in its collection and any fan of soul and R&B will not be disappointed by either. Hawthorne and his band, The County, will be appearing on May 22 at The Firebird in St. Louis.
--Keir, Cliff Cave Branch