Richard Hawley’s latest triumph, Lady’s Bridge does not disappoint. From the moment the first track, “Valentine,” starts, you are sucked into another world. The tone in his voice yearns and yet it is the most soothing thing I’ve heard in a long time. It’s achingly beautiful, but not over-complicated or showy. He’s not a technically brilliant singer, but he’s heartfelt and that is much more rare of a find — you believe every word he sings unfailingly. That’s the glory of Richard Hawley — once you listen, you believe. You get sucked into his moods, his thoughts, and his feelings so completely that each track is a journey.
“Roll On” is the second track and, yet again, a lush, beautiful song. The bluesy piano adds just the right amount of oomph to the track and the lyrics are a sweeping story as are all Hawley’s works. The track “Tonight the Streets Are Ours” has a retro ’60s pop feel to it, but it’s so catchy and infectious that you can’t help but get wrapped up. The melody is upbeat and after a listen you feel like the streets are yours. The last two tracks, “Our Darkness” and “The Sun Refused To Shine,” wrap up the disc in the perfect way, they leave you spent and relaxed.
As the album continues, each track builds upon the next, changing the tone from a true ballad to a rockabilly romp and back again. It drags you along on the ride and when it’s over, you want to get in queue for it again. Whether it’s a slow velvety ballad or a pop-rockabilly tune, Hawley does it the only way he knows how and that is grand. He’s an all-or-nothing type of songwriter who fully commits to his vision.
The album title is taken from his native Sheffield — it’s the bridge in the center of town that connects the rich side of town to the poorer side. He’s very proud to be from Sheffield and the references in his works and the album cover photos all give props to his home. Many UK artists have stated their love and admiration for Hawley and their anger at his not receiving the awards that they feel he is due. Arctic Monkeys front man, Alex Turner, even said when they received the Mercury Prize that he felt Hawley should have won it and that he was robbed. He’s a man’s man, an artist’s artist and more people should pay attention to Hawley — he’s got an invitation to extend to us all for his next journey.
Richard Hawley: www.richardhawley.co.uk