Best Albums of the 00s: Coles Corner

Coles Corner - Richard Hawley (2005)

Number five in the chronological list of my fave albums since 2000 is Richard Hawley’s Coles Corner (2005). It was the fourth of six albums that he released during the decade and it was the album that raised his musical profile and brought him to my attention. Part of the reason for the album’s success was due to its nomination for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize. Even though he lost out to the Arctic Monkeys for their debut album, they claimed in their acceptance speech that the prize should have gone to the man from their own town. Hawley was born in Sheffield in 1967 and began playing in bands in his early teens. He first tasted success as guitarist for the Longpigs and then drifted into session work before spending some time with Pulp. It was through encouragement from Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackay that Hawley recorded his first self-titled mini-album in 2000. Two more albums followed on Setanta before he switched to Mute Records for this album named after a part of Sheffield where lovers meet

The lyrics of the songs follow this theme of lovers meeting and departing as well as the loneliness of being apart for awhile or for a long time. Hawley’s baritone voice conveys the bittersweet nature of his songs while his guitar style adds to the sense of atmosphere. His songs hearken back to an earlier era in music and reminds me a lot of the music of Roy Orbison and Scott Walker. The influence of rockabilly is apparent in some of his more uptempo numbers and is most evident in his slick-backed hair and his decision to wear a suit on stage. I was fortunate enough to see him perform in Galway last year when he was promoting Lady’s Bridge, his equally successful follow up. The sound was excellent that night and Hawley and his band produced some excellent versions of the songs from Lady’s Bridge and Cole Corner. Here is a cover of one of the songs from the album:

Just Like The Rain (Richard Hawley cover) – The Maccabees


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  1. Pingback: Sheffield Steel « Town Full of Losers

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