By Yarely Ortiz
Andrew Mayer Cohen, better known for his stage name, Mayer Hawthorne, was an up-and-coming soul singer when he released A Strange Arrangement in 2009. Hawthorne’s stage name was inspired by blending his middle name with the street name he grew up with.
Before Hawthorne pursued his career as a soul singer, he was performing as a hip-pop DJ in Los Angeles, known as DJ Haircut. A Strange Arrangements is Hawthorne’s debut album. It pays tribute to the golden era of the Stax and Motown label of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
The arrangement of the songs, writing and instruments inculcated in A Strange Arrangement were all composed by Hawthorne. He was even his own backup singer!
Throughout the album, the production from the brass and the acoustics feel very genuine. The mixture of the sax and horn melodies in “Maker Her Mine” and “Your Easy Loving Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’” help evoke that feeling. His smooth voice, similar to Russel Thompkins, makes you feel like you have time traveled back in time.
A Strange Arrangement consist of 12 tracks with a length of 34 minutes. One of the biggest strengths of the album is his lyrics.
The majority of Hawthorne’s songs are about love. “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out,” “Strange Arrangements” and “Maybe So, Maybe No,” are prime examples that will give you a nostalgic feeling.
Strange Arrangements is an album that will surprise you and is worth a listen.
Featured image via A Strange Arrangement album cover.