One of the most common (and irritating) tropes I come across in YouTube music video threads: “He sounds like an 80-year-old black man trapped in a white boy’s body!” I’ve seen it used, recently, in comments about Dan Auerbach, Shakey Graves, Jake Bugg and quite a few others (even Jack White once or twice… even Lewis, ferchrisfuckingsakes). It seems that that’s the gold standard in American music (was Elvis the first? And Tom Jones the second, or third, after Buddy Holly…?)… which must mean that there are quite a few 80-year-old black men dominating American record sales and airplay charts… right?
Clearly I’m being facetious. We only treasure 80-year-old black musicians when they’re pleasingly coated with ameliorating layers of humanizing young whiteness.
Mayer Hawthorne has always been a black man trapped in a white boy’s body. From the opening sounds of his voice he just drools soul.
Uh… yeah… I can hear it. Can’t you…?