World Cafe Guests

WXPN Radio

The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe

XPN2 - Jingle Jams

XPN's own Kris Kringle, (Robert Drake) is presenting a unique mix of seasonal songs celebrating both the holiday and winter seasons.

World Cafe Archives

Join the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

XPoNential Radio

24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.

Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement - Stones Throw

Growing up just outside Detroit, Michigan, Mayer Hawthorne fell in love with the sound of soul music as a kid. Listening to old Motown classics on the radio inspired Hawthorne to not only embark on a music career of his own, but renovate the music he adored with a modern relevancy. On his new album, A Strange Arrangement, Hawthorne strikes that balance between then and now in stunning fashion.

The songs on A Strange Arrangement immediately draw you back in time. And while Hawthorne may not be as smooth a crooner say as Smokey or Curtis, his songs are none the less as genuine. He romances on songs like "Maybe So, Maybe No" and the hip-shaking "Your Easy Lovin' Ain't Pleasin' Nothin'." A Strange Arrangement also showcases his ability to slow things down and deliver a sweet falsetto on "I Wish It Would Rain" and the break-up ballad "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out."

Beginning his career as a producer, DJ and multi-instrumentalist, the transition to frontman feels almost effortless as Hawthorne projects almost as a veteran-like confidence. Playing all the instruments and arranging the entire album, A Strange Arrangement is a testament to Hawthorne's talent. And while it may be easy to throw a retro or neo-soul label on Hawthorne, after a listen it's understandable as to why you'd hesitate to do so. For as much as his music harkens back, A Strange Arrangement is perhaps even more in the now.


NEW - Download and Listen to Mike's review.

Or, read the review.

World Cafe Guest Search