arts 07.28.14

Caleb Hawley

Let's stipulate that no one should be compared to Stevie Wonder. But with Caleb Hawley, there it is. Add the songwriting chops of Holland-Dozier-Holland to the mix, season with the ecstatic highs of Ashford and Simpson, stir in the manifold talents of Jackie Wilson, Ray Charles, David Gates and David Gray—and serve immediately.

A Harlem-based singer, songwriter and guitarist, Hawley's 2007 promising debut album Greatest Hits was followed by Steps in 2009. At that point it was clear that he was a major talent in the making.

This year, signed, sealed and delivered: The first of two EPs, Side 1 was released in January and we think even the Funk Brothers (the nickname of Motown's house musicians) would be standing up cheering Hawley on for another chorus of Sometimes a Good Feeling (Just Can't Last).

When My Baby's Gone is the song Diana Ross didn't sing, but wishes she had. Mama said.

And for contrast, listen to Other Side of it All from the Steps album, a get-right-back-up, Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries entreaty, written after the 2008 market crash.

The followup EP, the more contemporary-textured Side 2, is out September 9. Hawley's performing August 1 at The Studio at Webster Hall and at Mercury Lounge on September 9.

Caleb Hawley is the real thing, and ain't nothing like the real thing.

Mercer Street

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