Soul pianist MAYER HAWTHORNE decries the
“retro” tag his music often earns, and you can’t blame him: It really
doesn’t come close to describing his bluesy, late-’60s rock sound.
Still, it’s hard not to want to use the word “retro” in describing him,
even if it’s not terribly descriptive. Hawthorne’s 2009 debut LP (on Stones Throw Records, the same label that puts out local favorite James Pants's records) sounds
straight out of the era when it was hard to make bad rock ’n’ roll. It’s
hard not to imagine the pops and hisses of smooth vinyl running
underneath his effortless arrangements and killer grooves.
personality doesn’t quite match the great music he makes — a type of
rock that is known more for being more boisterous than boyish. He may
not be James Brown, but Hawthorne controls the stage in his own way. (Jordan Satterfield)