Archive for the ‘Richard Hawley’ Category

Richard Hawley Fire Station Sunderland 12 December 2022

HAWLEY TIXNow this guy is a bit of an enigma. I guess you would say he has a very dedicated cult following. And rightly so. However, everyone I told I was going to see Richard Hawley, including some quite up-to-date music aficionados, said “Who Is he?” Yet this show sold out very quickly, even after the venue had removed all of the seats from the downstairs area in order to allow entry to more people.

HAWLEY3The last time I saw Richard Hawley was probably over 10 years ago when he was the support act for one of my personal heroes (and his apparently), Nancy Sinatra at the Sage Gateshead. I have missed the last few times he has been in the north-east and I thought it was about time that I picked up on him again, particularly when the show was local and in such an intimate, new, lovely, purpose-built concert venue. We arrived in time to catch the support act Katie Spencer who, not unlike Hawley, has her own individual style which is difficult to describe. On her website she describes herself as: 

HAWLEY2“Uk progressive folk singer-songwriter & guitarist. And using the words of others: ‘Katie’s guitar playing has echoes of my dear friend the late great Bert Jansch. Like a musical weaver she threads her poetic lyrics through the guitar’s strings and produces little tapestries of song.’ – Ralph McTell​. ‘Her articulate picking, with suggestions of folk and jazz, frames intelligently written songs and is the backbone to her music.’ – Guitarist Magazine. ‘One of the most satisfying and spellbinding singer-songwriter collections I’ve encountered in some time.’ – RnR Magazine”

HAWLEY4During the interval I managed to have a pint of Guinness and catch up with some friends who are also fans of Richard Hawley. Soon the guy took the stage. Richard has his own style. With his quiff hairstyle and American college boy cardigan, he looks every bit the 1950s rockabilly star. Indeed, his guitars, which he seems to change after each song, are also old 50s and 60s instruments, such as a Gretsch semiacoustic with large tremolo, a Burns (Hank) Marvin and various other lovely guitars.

HAWLEY BADGBut there is much, much more to this guy than a simple 50s/60s influenced singer. Sure you can hear those influences now and then, but Hawley has his own style transcends easy description and blends rockabilly, 60s music and blues, with more modern sounds. The Fire Station website describes his music, influence and collaborators thus: 

“In the two decades that have elapsed since Hawley jettisoned band life, first with The Longpigs and then as Pulp’s guitarist, the 52-year-old songwriter has forged one of the most singular and diverse careers in modern music…. Hawley has worked with a host of impressive collaborators – such as Arctic Monkeys, Manic Street Preachers, Elbow, Texas and Paul Weller, alongside personal heroes that include U.S guitarist Duane Eddy, Shirley Bassey, Nancy Sinatra, Lisa Marie Presley and British folk royalty Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson.”

HAWLEY TOWLNow with collaborators like that, you really can’t go wrong, can you? The only song I really know is “Tonight the Streets Are Ours “, but the rest of the set is excellent. Hawley has surrounded himself with an excellent band including a second guitarist who complements Richard’s own style and a great blues harp player who emerges from the side of the stage at various times to add his rasping harmonica. Some of the songs are quite dark and the lighting in the venue is set up well to emphasise this. My carer for the evening, Jackie, sees some of Nick Cave in Hawley. I don’t disagree. Hawley, like his support act, is a true northern guy, wearing his Sheffield style and accent proudly on his chest.

HAWLEY BOXOn the way out I buy some merchandise which is also quite individual and quirky. As you can see, I get a tea towel, a couple of badges and a natty little musical box which, when turned, plays a Richard Hawley tune (you can choose which one). No programme or T-shirt for this guy. Too conventional, I guess! A great show by a wonderful artist whose cult following is no doubt growing and at one stage we may see him break through to the mainstream. But maybe Richard Hawley is just fine the way with things the way they are.

Setlist: Off My Mind; Alone; Further; Standing at the Sky’s Edge; I’m Looking for Someone to Find Me; Emilina Says; Tonight the Streets Are Ours; Coles Corner; Galley Girl; Don’t Stare at the Sun; Time Is; Open Up Your Door; Down in the Woods; Is There a Pill?

Encore: There’s a Storm Comin’; Heart of Oak

An Evening with Nancy Sinatra The Sage Gateshead 14th April 2005

Nancy Sinatra Sage Gateshead 14th April 2005
nancy-sinatra-bootsI move from writing about one lady with a Morrissey connection (Sandie Shaw) to another. In 2004, Nancy Sinatra recorded Morrissey’s “Let Me Kiss You” accompanied by the man himself on backing vocals. She also came to the UK for a tour shortly afterwards, and Marie and I went to see her at The Sage Gateshead. Support was Richard Hawley, who also came on stage during Nancy’s set and dueted with her: “working with Nancy came about because Jarvis was asked to write some songs for her…..he called me and wondered if I would like to come along to co-produce and play on them…..she asked me to support her on her European tour as a solo artist which I enjoyed immensely. She also asked me to get up with her band and duet with her every night, which is a memory I will cherish for all my time” (Richard Hawley, from his website).
nancystixI have several of Nancy Sinatra’s albums from the 60s; the albums “Boots”, “Movin’ with Nancy” and her lp with Lee Hazlewood, “Nancy and Lee” are all just great. “These Boots are made for Walkin'” is a classic pop song and “Summer Wine” and “Some Velvet Morning” are beautiful, dark, strange songs. So I was quite excited about seeing her. Well the lady didn’t let me down; she was pure class and sang many of those classics: “Boots”, her excellent version of “Bang Bang” which is so much better than Cher’s version with that spooky reverb guitar, “You Only Live Twice”, Morrissey’s “Let Me Kiss You”, a great and emotional duet with a video of her dad on “Somethin’ Stupid” and The Beatles “Run for your Live” which she covers on one of her 60s albums (I think it is on “Boots”). At one point she walked up and down the aisles throwing out Nancy key rings, each one in the shape of a big puckered pair of pink lips (I managed to catch one 🙂 see the images). Just great, and for me a dream come true. I think she also sang “Sugartown”, another great track. I guess this is another guilty pleasure, but actually I think the lady is one of the true greats, and don’t care.
nancy2Here is the setlist from the London show of the same tour; I would guess the set at Newcastle will have been similar to this, although not exactly the same, as I am sure she sang “Run For Your Life” at the Newcastle concert: Bang Bang; Your Groovy Self; How Does That Grab You, Darlin’?; Barricades And Brickwalls; Baby Please Don’t Go; Let Me Kiss You; Easy Evil; Drummer Man; 99 Miles From L.A.; Sixty Minute Man; Flowers; Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad; nancy1Somethin’ Stupid; Tony Rome; Baby’s Comin’ Back to Me; Lightning’s Girl; Sugar Town; These Boots Are Made For Walkin’. Encores: You Only Live Twice; Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time; Friday’s Child; So Long Babe; Besamè Mucho; 100 Years.
I’ll leave the last words on Nancy Sinatra to Richard Hawley (again, from his website): “must admit I was nervous, but soon found out I had no reason to be as Nancy is one of the most lovely and genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. She is a massive talent and still has a great, unique voice.”