This week, one of Michigan's best received young musicians, Andrew Cohen -- better known as Mayer Hawthorne -- released an interesting EP of covers entitled Impressions. Despite containing only six songs, Impressions actually covers a lot of ground. It's an adventurous project that ranges from covers of classic songs like the Isley Brother's "Work to Do" to the more obscure "You've Got the Makings of a Lover" from Dallas, TX band the Festivals.
What immediately stands out here is Hawthorne's ear. He's had a knack for finding obscure soul records to flip ever since he was known as DJ Haircut and still living in Ann Arbor. Now that he's traveling the globe and more adept at his craft, he crate digs better than he used to and he proves that with some of his selections on Impressions. I've always felt his absolute best quality under the Mayer Hawthorne moniker is his work as an arranger. To be frank, his singing voice is not the greatest. It's noticeably improved over the last year and a half, but if you're waiting for his vocals to knock your socks off, you've got a long wait ahead of you. With that said, the man can arrange and produce tracks better than most and on Impressions, you'll hear the updated reworkings and touches that help prove that.
The best song here is the cover of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky"which Hawthorne and his 95% Michigan-based band The County nailed perfectly in only one take. Head here to read more about the project from Hawthorne himself. If your attention span can't handle all that, just download Impressions directly
here. That last link got taken down so try this one instead.