Now Then - The Very Best Of
Claiming with unerring certainty that “the support act?, oh yes I’ve been a big fan of his for years, since he was the singer in the Longpigs”. That I managed not to correct them remains something of an accomplishment. Had they perhaps skimmed a Wikipedia article they’d have known that, yes Richard Hawley was 'in' the Longpigs - but he was never the walking cheekbones “we’ve got Morrissey at home” vocalist, and his music today is stratospheres above the angsty Britpop that first introduced me to his unmistakable style as a guitarist.
It can be difficult to find the separation point between Hawley's music and Sheffield, like Steel and Hendersons Relish - there’s an intrinsic link. If you close your eyes, you're transported to the soul of the city, with compositions that travel along flowing rivers, soar over seven hills, and evoke the echoing memory of industrialization that used to provide percussion to life in the Steel city, before the works were closed.
With countless references to places in The City throughout his work, like an A-Z for visitors, of places not to go alone after dark. ‘Now then..’ is a carefully selected cross-section of his career thus far. Pieced together such that it flows naturally from track to track, highlighting perfectly the ageless nature of his music, there are no awkward jumps through a variety of styles. Perhaps his experimental era is yet to come and be that the case - may it echo through the culverts.
Whether you’ve been around long enough to know who he isn’t, or have had his name stumble into your periphery after a night at the Theatre, ‘Now Then…’ is an excellent way to pass some time, an excuse for dressing up and waltzing in all your finery round the location of your choosing.