If you’ve been following JOVM since the beginning, you may remember that I’ve written about Mayer Hawthorne, one of this era’s best soul vocalists; in fact, his Impressions: The Covers EP, which featured the singer/songwriter covering some sadly underrated songs landed at number 1 on this site’s Best of 2011 List, as it hit a deeply personal chord on a particularly difficult period of my life. The Grammy nominated artist released several other things in the years since, but Hawthorne has teamed up with another Grammy nominated artist and producer, Jake One for a project that the duo have dubbed, Tuxedo

The collaboration can trace its origins back to 2006 when the duo started to exchanged mixtapes.  After sharing a mutual appreciation of all things funk and soul, the duo quickly worked on and released three singles while both were working on separate solo projects – and those singles wound up turning into Tuxedo’s forthcoming debut album, slated for a March 3 release. 

Interestingly, the duo covered the somewhat forgotten Paul McCartney synth-based – yes, synth based – Christmastime single “Wonderful Christmastime.” Hawthorne and Jake One, managed to retain the layered synths of the original; however, their rendition manages to make the song much more soulful, as though The Whispers had decided to cover it. In particular think of “It’s A Love Thing” and “Rock Steady,” and you’ll hear the uncanny resemblance. 

More important, for those of you that celebrate, I hope that you’ll have a funky Christmas full of Soul Train lines, peace, fun, family and good food.