Mayer Hawthorne Offers Free Covers EP

 

Not exactly what you
might be expecting from the gentleman…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

It’s likely the only place you’ll find the Isley Brothers,
Chromeo, Jon Brion and ELO rubbing shoulders: lightly-hued funk soul brother
Mayer Hawthorne drops a free covers EP this week called Impressions, and it’s a winner all around.

 

Go here to nab the free download of the EP, which debuted
earlier this week at RollingStone.com.

 

 

TRACKLISTING:

 

Work To Do – Isley Bros

Don’t Turn the Lights On – Chromeo

You Got The Makings Of A Lover – The
Festivals 

Fantasy Girl – Steve Salazar

Little Person – Jon Brion

Mr Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra

 

 

STORY BEHIND THE SONGS:

 

1. Work To Do- Isley Bros

This one features my live band, The
County: Quentin Joseph on drums, Topher Mohr on guitar, Quincy McCrary on
piano, and Joe Abrams on bass. It was recorded live in a radio station studio
somewhere during our Winter 2010 US tour. The tapes recently
surfaced, but nobody can remember exactly where we were. The song is originally
by The Isley Brothers, and that’s the only version I was familiar with until we
started playing it in our live shows and people would come up to us and say
“hey, loved your cover of Average White Band!”.

 

 

2. Don’t Turn The Lights On- Chromeo

My favorite track from Chromeo’s latest
LP. On the surface it’s an electro-funk, dance floor filler, but underneath is
a brilliant love ballad with lyrics that reminded me of something from Tyrone
Davis. Dave1 (of Chromeo) told me the song is about a guy who falls in love
with a ghost, so I wanted my version to have an eerie, ghostly feel to it.
Quincy McCrary played the creepy piano solo at the end.

 

 

3. You’ve Got The Makings Of A Lover- The
Festivals

Textbook Northern Soul from a little
known Dallas, Texas group called The Festivals. I was
digging for records in NY with my homey DJ Kurse, and the shopkeeper played the
45 in the store. Both of us immediately ran up to the counter and said
“yo! what is THAT?!”. The original version was recorded in the late
60s, and the mix isn’t very good. I wanted a version that I could bump. Quentin
Joseph played the drums and we recorded them at Sam Beaubien’s studio in Detroit. That’s Sam
playing the trumpet as well.

 

 

4. Fantasy Girl – Steve Salazar

This song was written and composed by an
amazing man from Pasadena
named Steve Salazar. He was born with a heart condition and passed away at the
young age of 27. Before he died he recorded one incredible album of demos in
the mid-70s with a band called Shorty’s Portion. Peanut Butter Wolf found a
copy of the album and I loved it so much that he gave it to me (thanks Wolf!).
The vinyl had a handwritten note tucked in the sleeve that was addressed to
anyone who could help the band with management, a record deal, radio airplay,
etc. I’d estimate there were less than 300 copies pressed. That’s my Dad
playing pedal steel guitar on my version.

 

 

5. Little Person- Jon Brion

Jon Brion is not from this planet. He
penned this song for the soundtrack to Charlie Kaufman’s film “Synecdoche,
NY”. I didn’t get the film at all, but I really got the soundtrack. The
original has only female vocal and piano, but I always heard a larger
arrangement. Hubert Alexander played some of the piano and I did everything
else.

 

 

6. Mr. Blue Sky- ELO

This one also features my band, The
County, and was recorded live, in one take, in a tiny makeshift tent, at a
festival in Dour, Belgium.

 

 

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