Something Else! exclusive stream: Caleb Hawley, “Give It Away” from Side 2 EP (2014)

The exuberant, funk-pop of pre-Dirty Mind Prince lives again in the sensual falsetto of Caleb Hawley. That’s what’s in store above, an exclusive stream of Hawley’s party-ready ditty “Give It Away.”

Hawley, who shares a Minneapolis hometown with the badassed purple-obsessed Hall of Fame rock star, came from a family of “preachers and therapists,” and his upbringing consisted of singing in all-voice gospel choirs. He got hooked on classic R’n’B early on starting with Ray Charles, and that sparked a career as a blue-eyed soul singer and songwriter, a career in which he excels at both the singing and the songwriting parts.

Hawley’s Side 1 EP, out at the beginning of the year, is a direct salute to the soul music of the 60s and 70s, capturing that authentic Motown vibe with new originals. Side 2, due out September 9, goes for present-day grooves, but that’s all relative. Hawley still applies time-honored principles to his songwriting in crafting appealing hooks and grown-up lyrics, What’s more, the tunes are performed by a real band. Whereas 1 draws its motivation from the likes of Lil’ Stevie Wonder, 2 makes a lot of updated nods to Hall & Oates at their 80s apex.

Except for “Give It Away.” Sure, it draws instant comparisons to Prince’s 1979 hit “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” but a gleaming guitar, sweet slices of boogie synth and a skipping, disco-funk beat is not like other dancefloor come-ons you’ll hear these days; it’s better. Hawley puts himself at the center of this freaky groove by letting loose on his falsetto, which is just what this song called for.

It begs the question: why Shake It Off when you can Give It Away?

Hawley is currently on the road in support of Side 2. Check the tour schedule below for dates and places:

August 28 – Philadelphia, PA / Milkboy
August 30 – Columbus, OH / Fashion Meets Music Festival
September 1 – Des Moines, IA / Annelise Winery
September 3 – Green Bay, WI / UW Green Bay
September 4 – Omaha, NE / The Slowdown
September 5 – Minneapolis, MN / 7 th St. Entry
September 6 – Chicago, IL / Lincoln Hall
September 7 – Ann Arbor, MI / Blind Pig
September 9 – New York, NY / Mercury Lounge
October 4 – Smithfield, VA / Aiken & Friends Music Fest
October 5 – Charlotte, NC / Double Door Inn
October 6 – Chapel Hill, NC / Local 506
October 7 – Atlanta, GA / Vinyl
October 9 – Nashville, TN / 12 th & Porter
October 11 – Knoxville, TN / Barley’s Taproom
(more dates to be announced soon)

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews.com.