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Trueloves Gutter
Format: Audio CDChange
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2009
Format: Audio CD
While I assume that music fans in Richard Hawley's native England are long since onto the secret treasure that is his music, his is a fairly anonymous name here across the pond. And that is a shame, since he has built a consistently great body of work over the past decade.

While this latest album was being touted as a more experimental, less commercial release, the general ingredients are still, thankfully, unchanged: Hawley's rich, deep baritone, somewhere between Johnny Cash and Scott Walker, and musical backing that seems to resonate from the mists of time, reflecting a musical awareness that stretches from the simple storytelling of old country bluesmen, the impassioned early rock of Roy Orbison, the lush production of 1970's countrypolitan crooner Charlie Rich, and the autumnal melancholy of folkie Nick Drake. But his supreme guitar playing and attuned ear as a producer and arranger make sure that his own music transcends simple mimicry.

2007's Lady's Bridge was a true highwater mark, as it boasted some of his strongest hooks and most varied production. This follow-up lacks the instant gratification, but reveals its charms on repeated listens. "Truelove's Gutter" is certainly ambitious, with a lot of varied instruments and stretched-out songs, as well as a lot of space within the songs themselves. "Remorse Code" is a hypnotic dirge with a killer guitar coda, and "Ashes on the Fire" is a typical brokenhearted ballad. Overall, the album is a dark but thematically and musically unified statement that probably won't make him a household name, but should please fans of his earlier work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I had never heard of Richard Hawley until a friend who is as into music as I am recently induced me to buy this album. Now that it has arrived, it hasn't been out of rotation on my CD player for over a week as I find something more to like every time I hear it. Truelove's Gutter can be pretty ho-hum if you just have it on as background music. You have to take the time to sit down, relax and really listen, preferably on a good sound system as the instrumentation is incredible. Then there is the matter of Hawley's rich, soothing baritone that will relentlessly grow on you. Think of a cross between Frank Sinatra and Scott Walker.
The album as a whole is elegant and supremely sublime but naturally I have my favorite cuts. Those are: Open Up Your Door, Remorse Code, and Soldier On, each of which feature outstanding instrumental interludes and stirringly gradual vocal buildups. I also favor Don't You Cry which closes the album on a perfect bittersweet note.
You might say that Truelove's Gutter could be classified as "easy listening" music but don't think for a minute that Richard Hawley's music has anything in common with the bland pap of Michael Buble, Josh Groban and other paint-by-number singers so popular with faux sophisticates today. Hawley is both original and innovative, and if that is the kind of artist that appeals to you then you should give Truelove's Gutter a close listen. The CD comes with an arty booklet containing album info, partial lyrics, and Hawley's thanks to everybody under the sun. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2009
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Mr. Hawley never fails to impress. His music is relaxed and beautiful, and it puts you in a thoughtful mood. I believe the liner note from Lady's Bridge album said it best. MACHO Music is STUPID music. Well, this is not macho music, and it is not stupid. It's tragic that he is not better known in the U. S.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This is the first album, the first music of any kind, that I ever heard by Richard Hawley. I'd read about him for several years thanks to the glowing reviews he's received in MOJO magagazine, but I only decided to take the plunge and buy something by Hawley when I found a copy of this CD at a shop in Kuala Lumpur late last year. The first thing that hit me was THAT VOICE. A startling, expressive, very distinctive voice. I'm reminded a bit of the male vocalist from Dead Can Dance mixed with a bit of Jim Morrison and something more stripped down. Nick Drake has been used by some as a point of reference and that's not too far off the mark, and I also like the comparison to Charlie Rich that one reviewer made, but that doesn't truly hit the bullseye either. All of which means; Hawley truly has a distinctive vocal style.

The other thing that really struck me listening to this album are the arrangements/production. It doesn't sound like a conventional "rock" record at all, nor can you brand it alternative (and based on the "dark" CD cover with Hawley wearing sunglasses, you might assume that it DOES fall into one of those categories). I can understand why a few reviews have used the term "easy listening" to describe this music, only because the production uses strings and other non-rock elements, leaning more towards Dean Martin than Jack White, let's say. But there is nothing lightweight about this music: there is real depth and and a soul-bearing edge in these deeply affecting songs. Hawley's warm, emotive vocals milk the lyrics for all their worth and transports the songs to a different dimension. I'm pleased enough with this CD that I'm eager to hear more by this talented singer/songwriter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
The CD starts out with a sound like a didgeridoo - I have no idea what the source might be. And then his voice smoothly slides in and surrounds you with just a bit of guitar and gradually the other divine instruments join in and off we go into audio bliss. He allows his voice to be so very clear. He doesn't let the instrumental part overshadow and yet it is also strong. It feels like this music gently lifts you into its palm and floats you off on a journey that ends all too soon, soaring, slowing, pitching. I don't know how he does it but he does it very well. Get this CD, Coles Corner, Lady's Bridge and Late Night Final. I was unaware of him until about three months ago and I now want all his music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Hawley has a gorgeous voice, and the songs are really beautiful. I especially appreciate the way he relentlessly maintains the mood of nostalgia/melancholy throughout the whole album. If you aren't up for it you'll likely want more variety, but I admire Hawley's intention to present this as a complete body of work that flows together as a single piece. The arrangements are at once stripped down and lush, if that makes any sense. On the one hand it sounds quite minimal and subdued, but then there are these flourishes of classic 60s pop grandeur - think Dusty Springfield, Righteous Brothers, Glen Campbell, Roy Orbison, and (yes) Scott Walker - touches of strings, glockenspiel, tom toms, and harpsichord add sparkle in just the right amount. At the same time, the admirably restrained guitar solos sound absolutely contemporary. My only complaint here is with the lyrics. Hawley tends to go for easy and obvious rhymes and meters, and it starts to sound a bit cheesy to my ears: "Open up your door, I can't see your face no more..."; "Never say goodbye, You're the apple of my eye..." There's a lot of that throughout the album, and it quickly wears thin. Part of the problem is that his voice is really the focal point, and it's just so stunning that I want to hang on every word he says, so when the words fall short it's a glaring disappointment. Yet I keep coming back for more in spite of the "moon in June" cliches, which is testament to the quality of the album as a whole.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2009
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I must admit, I just recently discovered Richard Hawley, I don't know how I would have missed this brilliant singer/songwriter.

Since I bought Truelove's gutter, I have purchased the rest of his cds - a consistently great perfomer!
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on October 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Unlike his earlier Cole's Corner, these songs are not lathered in rich lush orchestration. These songs are Hawley bare. Intimate reflections on pure hopeful love and the reality of tarnished dreams. The struggles, the loss, and ultimate longing for love. This is the beauty of being human. A singer/songwriter in touch with his soul and conveying it's private depths, in a language that we wish we could all so touchingly communicate in...
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on June 15, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
strange shmaltzy 60's style glam-country. how's that for a description? the more i hear it the more i like it.
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on February 24, 2010
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This is not really rock and roll, but akin to Sinatra type of croning. The songs are all multi-layered and complex, but alas, I could have used something rocking along the way to wake me out of the doldrums of sad repression that these ballads moved me to. Hawley has a unique voice, and should gather a larger following.
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Lady's Bridge by Richard Hawley (Audio CD - 2007)

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Standing At The Sky's Edge by Richard Hawley (Audio CD - 2012)

Coles Corner
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