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Mayer Hawthorne to croon a “strange arrangement” at the B1 Block Party

Alex Kilpatrick | Thursday, August 26, 2010

A solo artist hailing from Los Angeles, Mayer Hawthorne will be performing with Guster this weekend at Legends along with his live band The County. The singer-songwriter’s smooth voice draws from such musical influences as American soul musicians Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Leroy Hutson, Barry White and Smokey Robinson as well as ‘60’s Motown trio Holland-Dozier-Holland.

The Los Angeles-based artist was born Andrew Mayer Cohen and his stage name is a combination of his real middle name, Mayer, and the name of the street he grew up on in Michigan, Hawthorne Road. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, he eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career and was signed to Stones Throw Records by label head Peanut Butter Wolf, a DJ and hip hop producer.

Mayer Hawthorne’s debut single “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out”/ “When I Said Goodbye” was released in November 2008. The single became both critically and commercially successful, as “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” was chosen as the Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week the following year. “When I Said Goodbye” was featured in “We Were Once a Fairytale,” a short film released at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2009, which was directed by Oscar-nominated Spike Jonze and starred Grammy Award-winning Kanye West.

The crooner released his debut album “A Strange Arrangement” on CD and LP in September 2009. Sticking to the basics, the debut is filled with catchy, energetic simple arrangements clearly influenced by 1960’s soul. Mayer Hawthorne relies on his innocent vocals, driving backbeats and sweet horn and sax melodies throughout the LP. As a side project to Mayer Hawthorne, Cohen also performs and records hip hop under the stage name Haircut, often as part of the groups Now On and Athletic Mic League.

Mayer Hawthorne and The County will perform Saturday at Legends at the B1 Block Party from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.