World Cafe

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Join the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.
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Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do - Universal Republic

If you haven’t met Mayer Hawthorne, allow us to introduce you. How Do You Do is the second album from the Michigan born soul man who has one foot fully planted in a nostalgic world of Motown and the other very much in the now. The new album is his first for a major-label. Hawthorne released his independent debut, A Strange Arrangement, back in 2009 to the delight of critics. What we learned then was that along with a playful nature came a sincere desire to recapture the heart of the music he drew inspiration from. On How Do You Do, Hawthorne continues to pay homage to the music he loves, but all the while lending his own style to the equation.

To be fair, How Do You Do is more of a re-introduction to Mayer Hawthorne. Putting both albums back-to-back it may be difficult for a casual (or new) fan to pick sides. But don’t consider that a bad thing. Like the first album, there’s a vision on How Do You Do. Not only does Hawthorne write and perform these songs, but he also acts as the album’s producer. What we’ve begun to hear is a distinct style that we can attribute to Hawthorne. And it’s all appealing. From his falsetto tribute to the motor town “A Long Time” to his baritone duet with Snoop Dogg (yup, Snoop!) “Can’t Stop” these songs are seductive. Try you best not to sway along to “The Walk” or settle into the comfortable Motown appeal of “Hooked.”

This music certainly does breed a certain amount of comfort and familiarity, but it also exudes confidence. It’s hard to ignore Hawthorne’s self-assurance on How Do You Do (I believe the kids these days call it ‘swagger’?). He’s created a persona and that personality is fully engaged on How Do You Do. I guess it’d be difficult not to possess that type of confidence when you have guitar legends like Dennis Coffey playing on your album (listen to “Stick Around” and “You’re Not Ready”). Regardless, Hawthorne is magnetic and How Do You Do is the proof.

Buy XPN's Featured Album of the Week, How Do You Do at Your purchase that starts here supports WXPN public radio.