Richard Hawley first came to my attention when his 2005 album Coles Corner started getting rave reviews, culminating in its nomination for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize. A friend recommended that I give it a listen and I was instantly hooked. I’ve loved the three albums produced since then and I’ve gone back and introduced myself to the three earlier releases.
If you’ve been concentrating you’ll know that I’m a great admirer of the melodic pop tune as exemplified by such popular musical combos as Prefab Sprout, Belle & Sebastian, Death Cab For Cutie, The Go-Betweens and many more. But what usually appeals to me is the way that the songwriters in question manage the trick of making what is actually a highly complex composition, sound musically simple. Richard Hawley goes one step further: his compositions really are assimple as they seem to be.
So there must be something else that makes his songs so special and it’s that mysterious ‘Ingredient X’ that I want, with the help of the Spill Massive, to attempt to identify. What is it that appeals to you? What qualities make Richard Hawley, with no fewer than six lifetime Festive Spill nominations, our official number one artist of all time?
All-in-all, we have a fine body of work to consider: seven studio albums plus numerous live recordings and collaborations with acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Elbow and Lisa-Marie Presley! And those us of a certain vintage might also want to delve into the output of Hawley’s Britpop also-rans, The Longpigs.
So, here’s the plan. I’d like those of you who are already converts to Sheffield’s finest croon-rocker to nominate a track or two from the oeuvre to represent all that is great and wonderful about the man and his music. I will then put together the ultimate Richard Hawley overSpill playlist and post it sometime after Christmas for the edification of the class. How could that not be a Good Thing?
I’ll start the ball rolling by putting forward the following for your consideration…