One of the UK’s leading songwriters is to perform in the region as part of a short Christmas tour.
Former Longpigs and Pulp guitarist and vocalist Richard Hawley will appear at The Fire Station, Sunderland, on Monday, December 12 as part of an impressive Christmas programme.
Sheffield-born Hawley formed his first band, Treebound Story, while still at school in the Steel City. He went on to find fame as guitarist for Britpop band Longpigs in the 1990s. The indie rock band had success with singles She Said and On and On before splitting in 2000.
Hawley then toured with Britpop idols Pulp, fronted by friend and fellow Sheffield musician Jarvis Cocker.
In the two decades that have elapsed since Hawley jettisoned band life, the 52-year-old songwriter has forged one of the most singular and diverse careers in modern music.
He has released a string of solo albums that have managed the rare feat of being both critically acclaimed and commercially successful, two of which – Cole’s Corner and Standing at the Sky’s Edge – were nominated for a Mercury Prize.
Hawley was also nominated for a Brit Award in 2013 and his most recent album Further released in 2019, entered the UK album charts at number 3.
Hawley has also worked with a host of impressive collaborators – such as Arctic Monkeys, Manic Street Preachers, Elbow, Texas, Robbie Williams and Paul Weller, alongside personal heroes that include U.S guitarist Duane Eddy, Shirley Bassey, Nancy Sinatra, Lisa Marie Presley and British folk royalty Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson.
Hawley has also found time to write a hit musical and film soundtracks, notably Funny Cow (2017) and Pond Life (2018).
He has always drawn on his own experiences to help shape his songwriting, adding literary influences to augment his powers of observation.
He said: “My nana and my great aunties would make paper doilies themselves rather than buy them from a shop, and cut them out. As a kid, I would look through them and try and imagine a picture behind them. That’s what songwriting is all about - don’t fill in the whole of the doily because the human brain will fill it in."
He has strong connections with the North East, with his father spending much of his childhood in Bishop Auckland.
Tamsin Austin, venue director of The Fire Station, said: “We’re thrilled that Richard Hawley will be playing at The Fire Station next month – his career is one of the most diverse in contemporary music and he is held in high regard by artists and collaborators from across the world of rock, pop, folk, Americana and country music.
"Time and time again he has shown the ability to cut across genres, proving his deep understanding of musical roots.
“Cole’s Corner, his breakthrough solo album is rightly regarded as a modern classic, and the albums that followed have shown how he has developed his craft at his own pace, but with real momentum. It will be a terrific night and we’ve already had massive interest since the gig was announced.”
Hawley’s performance is just one highlight of a December programme that also includes The Futureheads, The Royal Northern Sinfonia, The Cornshed Sisters, The Reg Vardy Brass Band, American comedian Rich Hall and a Good Times New Year’s Eve Party.
Tickets are on sale now– for more information go to www.thefirestation.org.uk
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