Monday, November 25, 2013

I love Bradley Hathaway and his new album, "How Long"

I wish I knew more about music. Maybe then I could write better album reviews, and maybe then I could begin to explain just why it is that Bradley Hathaway has become one of my favorite musicians over the past few years.

Let’s back up. 

I first heard of Hathaway when a poet friend of mine shared his book All the Hits So Far with me, along with the CD which contained his spoken performances of his poetry. It was pretty cool, if a bit odd – I will always remember “I will windmill kick you in the face!” haha

Anyway, when I found out Hathaway was putting out a music album a few years back, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I found myself thoroughly enjoying his debut Mouth Full of Dust and his follow-up A Thousand Angry Panthers EP and A Storm is Coming single. They’re the kind of songs that really grow on you each time you listen. 

I repeatedly found myself coming back to his songs without really being able to explain why. Recently, I heard it said of Johnny Cash that his vocals, guitar skills, and lyrics wouldn’t have stood out if each taken separately, but when they were combined they produced the magic that was Cash. I feel similarly about Hathaway. If you’re looking for auto-tuned vocals and slick radio tunes, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for some down-to-earth, simple, raw, honest music, Hathaway is gold.
How Long

So when I heard Hathaway was coming out with a new album, I pre-ordered it without having a single preview of note or lyric. Yes, that is how much of a fan I am. And How Long did not disappoint. In fact, it actually surpassed my expectations. Hathaway keeps getting better.

While there are some stand-out songs, this album really deserves to be listened to from start to finish. How Long is a series of story-telling songs related to love – some are happy, some are sad, some are in-between. The acoustic folk sound of this album is fantastic – mellow and soothing at times, peppy and upbeat at others. We are even treated to a couple spoken word songs.

Of course, for me, it’s the lyrics that really draw me in – yes, framed in the fantastic sounds of the songs, but the lyrics always take center-stage for me. Each song feels like a story you could sink into, have it wash over you, explore it, and discover something beautiful.

How Long is an album I will return to again and again. I invite you to join me.


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