Mutual friend Noelle Scaggs of the Rebirth introduced Mayer Hawthorne to Stones Throw label head Peanut Butter Wolf. Despite being skeptical Wolf decided to give Mayer a listen. >He showed me two songs and I didn?t understand what I was listening to,< Wolf recalls. >I asked him if they were old songs that he did re-edits of ? I couldn?t believe they were new songs and that he played all the instruments.< The retro tag is added to almost any contemporary work that sounds like it was originally recorded between 1966 and 1974, and Hawthorne, among the newest contributors to the genre.
Following the debut cult classic, >Just Ain?t Gonna Work It Out<, Mayer dispels any notion of a sophomore slump with the single, >Maybe So, Maybe No<. In this installment, Hawthorne combines infectious falsetto vocals, fatback drums, and an epic horn section that would make Motown?s Berry Gordy grin with excitement. (Think Jackson 5, Joe Bataan, Sylvers, Lamont Dozier, as well as J-Dilla) The flip side contains the equally uplifting track, >I Wish It Would Rain< for good measure. On this track Mayer dials it down a few notches with a soulful ballad ala Smokey Robinson, Eddie Kendricks, and The Four Top. Drawing from 60s soul, Mayer constructs a poignant composition topped with edgy vocals of dissipated love.
Both tracks are a definite surefire Northern Soul classic that will once again draw interest from tastemakers such as BBC Radio 1 host, Giles Peterson, and celebrity producer/DJ Mark Ronson. And for those willing to believe anything is possible, be grateful to have Mayer Hawthorne on the scene. It?s not just throwback music anymore ? this revival is all about progression.