“Anyone here like rockabilly?” It was December 2007, and Richard Hawley was asking his audience at Los Angeles’ Troubadour if they were ready for an upbeat number from his then-latest album, Lady’s Bridge. His follow-up, the dream-like Truelove’s Gutter, seems to answers the question with a soft-spoken “No.” On Bridge and 2005′s Mercury Prize-nominated Cole’s Corner the Sheffield, England native blended vintage pop, rock and even jazz influences — Orbison, Morrisey, Sinatra – to magnificent effect, but with “Gutter,” the songwriter heads down a more understated path. Unlike those past albums, which rotated between bluesy, sock-hop rockers and tender, Wee Small Hours of the Morning-style ballads, Gutter goes entirely evocative. “Open Up Your Door” and “For Your Lover, Give Some Time” are the most successful examples of his freshly orchestrated sound, with “Door” begging a lover to take him in over a bed of twinkling synthesizers and drifting lead guitars and “For Your Lover” turning to violins and a delicately plucked acoustic guitar to soundtrack a mystery-tinged examination of the sacrifices of fidelity. “I will give up these cigarettes,” Hawley promises in the latter track, and his baritone — at once comfortingly wise and dashingly man-of-the-world — has never sounded better. Despite these highlights, though, the conceptual thrust of, say, Sinatra’s Wee Small Hours or September of My Years never quite emerges here, andTruelove ‘s soft-focus nuance — most apparent in a pair of songs that stretch needlessly toward the 10-minute mark — comes at the expense of some of the crowd-pleasing musician’s usual verve. Still, Hawley has crafted a gorgeous addition to his catalog, a record best heard in the attendance of a crackling fireplace and a bottle of wine. One just hopes his fans will remind him when he comes to town that we do, yes, like a little rockabilly.