A night out at the legendary Troubadour on December 13, 2007 showcased one of the year’s best albums most Americans have never heard of–Lady’s Bridge by alternative rockabilly artist Richard Hawley. Extolled by critics in the UK, the latest album by the Sheffield native proves what adult contemporary music could be if it were actually good.A packed house of obscure music enthusiasts were treated to a stop on Hawley’s brief North American tour. Hawley, a respected session musician known for his work with Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, responded to the audience’s adoration with solo career classics (“Coles Corner” and “The Ocean”) and current gems alike (“Tonight The Streets Are Ours” and “Lady’s Bridge”). A tight and gifted back-up band accompanied Hawley in his rockabilly ethos, not only with slick pompadours and rolled up Levi’s but also with rowdy and swing danceable tunes like “Serious,” complete with stand-up bass strumming.
The maturity and romantic melancholy of this music have a torch singer’s intimacy. Hawley’s deep and crooning baritone is crystal clear, exactly as one would hear on the record. While Richard Hawley’s stage presence and songs may evoke a long-lost era their timeless beauty was perfectly displayed on a cold December night.