Richard Hawley

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:25 am 
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I was lucky enough to discover Mr H's music when the title of his album 'Lowedges' caught my eye. Having grown up on the aforementioned estate, I immediately purchased said album out of curiosity (whilst thinking about it killing cats and all that), man was I surprised!!. Quite simply the most stunning, original music I had heard since hearing The The's album 'Soul Mining'.

Now I do not put many song writers up there with Matt Johnson, only Mr Hawley, the legend that is the Big O and Matt Bellamy of Muse. The reason I put you up there Mr H is your Lyrical genius. Do not get me wrong I love the musical arrangements of the songs (Tonight the streets are ours is a thing of majestic beauty), but to me its the lyrics that caught and held me.

I just do not understand how someone can capture and encapsulate so much in so few words. I don't know if you have to be from Sheffield but I am reminded so much of growing up in Sheffield and of a certain working class type of Sheffield life by your songs, you seem to have caught something imperceptible about Sheffield.
For instance the lyric "what are like, you've had a right life" just evokes memories of me mam shouting "what are you like, you little bleeder" and just fills me with nostalgia, but its a nostalgia with a happy Sheffield tinge (does that make sense).

I find the fact that the everyday content of the songs masks an often darker truth particularly intriguing, the song 'The sun refused to shine' is a master piece of understatement, the fact that a women has chosen to be with someone who will crush her spirit "underneath his unloving shoe" must hit home to so many people; not a nice message but you can feel the anguish of the person observing this womens downfall.
I went through the same thing myself watching my sister go from one asshole to another and eventually committing suicide because she met one f****r to many.
Thing is though the song does not make me sad, because it states that eveyrday fact of so many peoples life so beautifully and poignantly.
Roll River Roll, can be seen as a song about journey on a river home to his girl, or more darkly about a man wanting to end it in the river so he can join the women he lost, the songs have so may layers yet are so simple, I just do not understand how you convey so many layers of feeling with so few words.

Then we come to 'Serious', every time I play that song I just smile, but its quite a dark song in some ways, damn Mr H thats what I call a clever song writer, someone who can make you smile but put that doubt in your mind while your smiling.

My favourite though has to be Coles Corner, I do not mean to take anything away from your amazing voice Rich, but everytime I hear this song I hear Roy Orbison singing it in the back of my mind. I mean that as a compliment, I say this because I fully class your song writing (both musically and lyrically) and your singing as equal to Mr Orbison and I hear the same heart rending undercurrent of emotion, loss and also happiness, courage and humour in your songs and voice that I hear in the big O's music.

I suppose the point and question is 'Where does this emotional depth come from? and how in gods name do you put so much Sheffieldness in your songs?. Just what have you been through? cos I sense some dark stuff pervading the lyrics of your music, but always tempered by that obviously northern sense of humour.
I see your videos and they are full of humour and very self depreciating and this often counter points the songs dark content, do you write the songs and then feel the need to lighten the tone with the videos? or do you simply like to have a bleedin good laugh?.

I just want to end this by saying I have gone through some harrowing times in the last two years (lost my sister to suicide and mum to cancer) and your music helped me get through those times Rich. Not by making me feel bad or upset but by taking me back to the good times growing up on Lowedges with my mum and sisters (and Dad of course). Sometimes I have spilled a tear or two, especially listening to "Born under a bad sign" that song screams growing up in Sheffield and reminds me of my Mum (don't ask me how or why but it just does).
I just want to thank you for having the guts to create such original beautiful music, it helped me get through some rough times and that is not in any way exaggerated.

Anyway thank you for putting up with my ramblings and I do not know if the opinion of a true working class Sheffield lad adds up to much, but if I wrote music, all I know is if it touched just one person like yours has me then I would be happy. Cheers dude. (hope all that did not sound to bloody pretentious, but I had to say what goes through my mind when I listen to your stuff)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:26 pm 
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thanks i don't really know what to say except i am glad the music helped and am deeply sorry for your loss pal,i too have had,like most folks on this earth some shit along with the good bits,coming from Sheffield and being brought up the way i was i see both sides of the fence so to speak.You can be in utter and total dark world and someone will say something that'll bring you round and make you laugh at yourself,maybe thats it.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:32 pm 
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amen to that.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:37 pm 
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Very touched, Rikimaru. You've written so eloquently about both the music and how it has helped you through.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:12 pm 
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I'm stunned by your letter as well. Just beautiful. As much as I'm awed by songwriters, I find writing about music and why it reaches you deeply is very difficult. You've shared so much with us.

~ Karen


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:07 am 
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Richard Hawley wrote:
thanks i don't really know what to say except i am glad the music helped and am deeply sorry for your loss pal,i too have had,like most folks on this earth some shit along with the good bits,coming from Sheffield and being brought up the way i was i see both sides of the fence so to speak.You can be in utter and total dark world and someone will say something that'll bring you round and make you laugh at yourself,maybe thats it.

I am happy I got through just how important your music was in getting me through those times, I think the mark of a creative genius (be it music, painting, writing, sculpture whatever) is the ability to connect with people.
Mr Hawley you have th.ta rare gift . I do not know what it is about your music, whether its the nostalgic feel (balanced perfectly between homage and inspiration) or the subtle Yorkshire (south Yorkshire of course) undertones, that only those who grew up in Sheffield and there abouts can truly really pick up on. Or is it fact that it is plainly obvious that the person who wrote these songs has felt what he is describing.
Whatever this gift is, all I know is that certain songs just take me back to a time when the sun shone during the six weeks holidays, my mum was listening to Elvis on the old record player with the 45RPM's stacked on the turntable (you know those old record players), or back to how I felt when the love of my life left and you get that twinge in the chest and smile wryly.

I am a pretty good painter and I have been commissioned to paint pets a few times, on a few occasions I have painted pets and when the person who commissioned them has seen the finished painting, they have burst into tears (no not because they were crap :?)because the painting touched them and they saw something in it that reminded them of their pet. I am not saying it is the same thing, but being able to do that is rare, the bonus for you is that you can touch many more people and provide for your family while doing it (I just paint as an interest).

Anyway, I do not want you to think I walk around my house in a permanent state of nostalgic wistfulness while listening to your tunes Mr H. Far from it, one of my joys in life is cooking the kids tea (I am a single bloke with two teenage kids after my divorce (escape) 5 yrs ago, ) and singing along to Lady's Bridge, especially 'Dark Road' and driving my kids apeshit. Believe me Rich my voice is not what you would call 'user friendly'. Like you said the ability to laugh at yourself is key to a sane existence and I often laugh at myself when I get those pitying looks from the kids along with the plea to stop massacring "good songs".

I am not going to ask you to divulge anything personnel about your experiences in life, but I think part of what draws me to your music is that sense of recognising someone who has been through the mill a few times. Roy Orbison has the same 'edge' to his music and I sometimes wonder how that dude sang the songs he did after the tragedy in his life. I like the way you can balance melancholy with irreverence and thats not an easy thing to do.

Anyway time for a question. I have to ask you Rich, did you ever hang about on Lowedges or is the story about you seeing the name on the 53 and 76 bus and being intrigued by the name true? (76 doesn't go to Lowedges anymore :( ). I grew up on the estate (and later on Jordanthorpe) and I always loved the place (still do even with its problems) and I am interested to know if you have any personnel experience of the place and its mix of inhabitants (good, bad and just plain strange, not sure where I fit in there)

Anyway enough rambling, I would like to thank you all for your comments, I was a bit wary of posting the letter, because heartfelt essays on how beautiful and touching music is and , is not usually seen as the Provence of working class Sheffield lads :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:59 am 
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I used to get the 75/76 bus from Page hall to Lowedges to see a girl a LONG time ago,it was a bit far and i was very young so it didn't last too long.I called the album that because of that experience and also the fact that at the time my music was very much on the fringes if not in fact totally outside what was happening musically in this country so it seemed fitting to call it that cos Lowedges is on the outskirts of the city.Simple.

I am hearing what your saying about nostalgia but the point i try and make is a persons emotions can be recalled and remembered at ANY time in their lives with as much clarity as if they happended yesterday,so that to me makes"feeling"beyond fashion and indeed time,after much drug abuse my memory works in a very ramshackle haphazzard sort of way,i can't remember something important i was told yesterday or even an hour ago :roll: but can recall something(seemingly)utterly trivial someone said to me twenty years ago with total recall....................funny that.


The one thing i will say is thanks for the kind words..........but you can(and i mean this kindly)relax a bit.i understand and appreciate how heartfelt your feelings are.................but .we're all friends here. get kettle on and have a biscuit:wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:23 pm 
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my memory works in a very ramshackle haphazzard sort of way,i can't remember something important i was told yesterday or even an hour ago but can recall something(seemingly)utterly trivial someone said to me twenty years ago with total recall....................funny that.


.............I have the same problem....its our age mate


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:33 pm 
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its not ..............its LSD

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:00 pm 
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Richard Hawley wrote:
I used to get the 75/76 bus from Page hall to Lowedges to see a girl a LONG time ago,it was a bit far and i was very young so it didn't last too long.I called the album that because of that experience and also the fact that at the time my music was very much on the fringes if not in fact totally outside what was happening musically in this country so it seemed fitting to call it that cos Lowedges is on the outskirts of the city.Simple.

I am hearing what your saying about nostalgia but the point i try and make is a persons emotions can be recalled and remembered at ANY time in their lives with as much clarity as if they happended yesterday,so that to me makes"feeling"beyond fashion and indeed time,after much drug abuse my memory works in a very ramshackle haphazzard sort of way,i can't remember something important i was told yesterday or even an hour ago :roll: but can recall something(seemingly)utterly trivial someone said to me twenty years ago with total recall....................funny that.


The one thing i will say is thanks for the kind words..........but you can(and i mean this kindly)relax a bit.i understand and appreciate how heartfelt your feelings are.................but .we're all friends here. get kettle on and have a biscuit:wink:

Yeah the 76 had the longest bus route in existence I think. Where is page hall? I grew up in Sheffield but I never heard of the place.

True enough about the nostalgia but I think you must agree that music does seem to be a powerful trigger for remembering things, I also have many lost memories and experiences (also many I wish I could forget :roll: ) due to the over indulgence of alcohol (ah the joys of Sheffield on a Saturday night.:wink:).

I do not want to come over as being overly serious about anything, I simply wanted to let you know that the music did help me through, I am a pretty relaxed dude usually and like I said I appreciate the humour in your music and videos as well. I do enjoy the music, especially with a cuppa and a biccie (but I promise no more serious stuff)

I am gonna try and get to the concert in York on the 18th, have not been to a live show for a good while, last show was Muse (man they put on a good how for a three piece outfit).


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:01 pm 
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Hello & welcome to the forum, Rikimaru. :wink: xx

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:01 am 
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yes Rikmaru i didn't mean to upset you mate i just get a bit embaresed fuck i wish i could spell now thats embracing in't...................er.......no............erm.........embroidery.......ooooooooh bugger this type writer thing


:shock:


Welcome pal :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:29 am 
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Richard Hawley wrote:
yes Rikmaru i didn't mean to upset you mate i just get a bit embaresed fuck i wish i could spell now thats embracing in't...................er.......no............erm.........embroidery.......ooooooooh bugger this type writer thing


:shock:


Welcome pal :wink:

Heh, my secret is the spell checker (and its always busy believe me).
Upset me mate? you did not upset me in the slightest, honest. As for embarrassed it makes a change for me to embarrass someone as I am usually doing a great job of embarrassing myself :oops: .
Glad to be on board your fine forum and I will hope to be around for a fair while.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:57 am 
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..>

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:23 pm 
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Richard Hawley wrote:
its not ..............its LSD



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