Here’s the thing, musical taste is subjective – I get this fact, even though most of today’s raft of “pop” acts are as closely related to music as Spam is to meat. That said, subjectivity aside, if there’s currently a better British singer, songwriter or guitarist than Richard Hawley then I’ve yet to hear them. Last nights gig at Bristol Colston Hall, the final of one his current tour, was further proof that Hawley is, seven albums into a solo career, at the peak of his powers.
With a top-notch band now in place, along with his usual acerbic and very funny banter, Hawley gave us nearly two hours of the sweetest melodies plus the occasional rocking wig-out, all delivered in his rich Sheffield via Tennessee baritone and accompanied by musicianship of the very highest order.
The set list stretched across his exceptional body of work, and personal highlights included (in his own words) “the most miserable song he’s written for a long time”, the beautiful and heartbreaking “Tuesday PM” taken from his current, and possibly best ever album Hollow Meadows, an outstanding version of the creepy and foreboding “Down In The Woods” from Standing At the Sky’s Edge
and set closer, a stunning version of the beautiful, shimmering “The Ocean” from 2005’s brilliant Cole’s Corner. In between proceedings, we even had time to sing his daughter Rosie, currently at Bristol University and in the audience, Happy Birthday!
That he hasn’t even been nominated for this year’s Mercury Music Prize further highlights the fact that in 2015 industry awards are increasingly irrelevant and in an age when X-Factor, auto-tuned, pro-tooled wannabees sell millions, Florence & her screeching Machine can headline Glastonbury and Sam Smith gets chosen to write and perform a Bond theme, Hawley should have a residency at Caesars Palace and be selling out shows there night after night!
Anyway, here is the maestro with “I Still Want You”, his current single and my favourite track from the best album of 2015