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Truelove's Gutter is Richard Hawley's fifth full album and what a treasure it is. Whilst Hawley has a strong following, it's always been curious to me how little attention he has received over the years for his music. Possessing a rich and warm voice, Hawley is renowned for the beauty in his music, featuring many strings and wistful sounds of lap-steel guitars. Coupled with his excellent song-writing ability and you're onto a winner, Truelove's Gutter doesn't disappoint.
The album opens with the lovely "As The Dawn Breaks", which is a soft and gentle song but very atmospheric and sets the tone for the rest of the album excellently. It relaxed me right from the off and this album is the type to put on on a Sunday afternoon and watch the birds through the window.
The album then flows nicely to "Open Up Your Door", which has been used on a few adverts recently, which means you may recognise it. Much like the previous track, this track has an atmospheric feel. Mellow sound to it, it rolls through at a comforting tempo with lots of strings with an upbeat mood to the singing. Indeed, this is much like Truelove's Gutter all through, it is a very cohesive album, all the tracks flow together beautifully to form a true album. In an age of digital music, the art of the album has been largely been lost but Hawley proves all is not lost here.
Ashes On The Fire is a very full sounding track, almost like a strong bass type sound, with gentle guitar over the top and light drumming creates a very warm sound, especially with the strings come in halfway through. The lyrical content is touching and poignant and delivered perfectly by Hawley in what is a gem of a song full of emotion and imagery.
Next up is Remorse Code, which at nearly 10 minutes long can be quite a daunting prospect for some but such is the nature of the album, you hardly notice the same track has been on for such a long time as the whole thing flows so well. This track develops more and more over the 10 minutes to create a beautiful song again full of emotion as Hawley sings with with such sincerity and vulnerability. A vast array of instruments are used here and the effects used on the guitars create a very wistful feel.
Don't Get Hung Up In Your Soul is a simple acoustic guitar based song with the gorgeous musical saw in the background creating such a wonderfully eerie yet warm sound. Hawley's lyrics and voice sing a simple melody and is very prominent against the music in a moving track. This leads to Soldier On, which has a haunting mood to it which starts off slowly but halfway through breaks into a glorious wall of sound, with some skilled guitar work ploughing through the middle of it. Despite the change in sound, it doesn't at all feel out of place in the album, it's a welcome and unexpected change.
The album finishes with For Your Lover Give Some Time and Don't You Cry. The latter is over 10 minutes long and is a simply mesmerising track, with Hawley singing to his child. The track has lots of beautiful sounding instruments, including guitars, the musical saw and lap steel guitar to create a wholesome sound. Also featuring is the sound of a babies toy/ music box which gives the track a lullaby sort of feel, set against Hawley's vocal melody it creates a chilling and emotive track. For Your Lover Give Some Time is a vulnerable and sincere track by Hawley, confessing his wrong doing in a lovely track with a similar feel to Don't Get Hung Up In Your Soul earlier in the album.
Truelove's Gutter will doubtless appeal to a large spectrum of people. Indeed, I'm in my twenties, my parents love Hawley and even my grandparents picked this album up and love it. A wonderfully atmospheric album full of beauty in excellent musicianship and skill, highly recommended.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 As The Dawn Breaks
2 Open Up Your Door
3 Ashes On The Fire
4 Remorse Code
5 Don't Get Hung Up In Your Soul
6 Soldier On
7 For Your Lover Give Some Time
8 Don't You Cry