Musical tastemakers have elected Mayer Hawthorne as the next big thing in blue-eyed croon, while superfly Aloe Blacc looks swell in any colour. The pair go soul-to-soul with crisscrossing Canadian concerts.
Mayer Hawthorne (birth name: Andrew Mayer Cohen)
Aloe Blacc (birth name: Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III)
Hawthorne: Born 31 years ago near (but not in) Detroit. The untrained singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist signed with the L.A.-based Stones Throw Records in 2008, last year releasing his stylish, shimmering debut disc, A Strange Arrangement.
Blacc: Born 31 years ago near (but not in) Los Angeles, the first-generation American offspring of Panamanian parents. Released his Stones Throw Records debut in 2006, following it up with the more assured Good Things from this year.
Hawthorne: Influenced by Curtis Mayfield and Motown's Smokey Robinson, the nerdy, falsetto-singing Hawthorne specializes in lush, romantic soul-pop - usually piano-based and silk smooth.
Blacc: Inspired by Curtis Mayfield and Motown's Marvin Gaye, the suave, baritone-throated Blacc deals in gritty, tuneful soul, with lyrics expressing a peaking optimism among bad-times imagery.
Hawthorne: Maybe So, Maybe No is blissful piano-and-horn soul; One Track Mind focuses sublimely on the classic Hitsville USA swing; The Ills cures what ails you with hustling, upbeat Earth, Wind & Fire-like R&B.
Blacc: I Need a Dollar - the horn-happy theme to HBO's How to Make it in America - bounces and pleads with urgency and vulnerability; the feel-good You Make Me Smile grins with Mayfieldian wah-wah guitar and sappy, heart-filled joy; Hey Brother is badass - shut your mouth! - funk.
Hawthorne and his band the Country play Toronto's Opera House, Friday; and Vancouver's Biltmore Cabaret, Nov. 8.
Blacc sings at Vancouver's Fortune Sound Club, Nov. 6; Toronto's Wrongbar, Nov. 15; and Montreal's Le Belmont, Nov. 16.Report Typo/Error