Hayes Carll has carved his niche in the music industry. He is a clever, quirky, sarcastic country/Americana singer and songwriter who has the ability to connect with music lovers across genres lines. Along with special guest Rob Baird, Hayes Carll is coming to the Lucky Mule Saloon on Friday, February 15th.
Cost: 21 and over $12.00 in advance, 18+ welcome with ID for an additional $3
Purchase Online: LuckyMuleAbilene.com
Date and Time
Friday, February 15th. Doors open at 6:00pm
Rob Baird will be the first one to tell you that he hasn’t always been 100%, shall we say, forthright as a songwriter. Back in college he recorded an album that he has since “completely buried”. Primarily, he says, because, “I just wasn’t writing about anything that really meant anything to me.” His next album, 2010’s Blue Eyed Angels (which he considers his proper debut), was a fair deal closer to his heart, but even then he was still an artist in search of himself. Songs like “Could Have Been My Baby,” “Blue Eyed Angels” and especially “Fade Away” all demonstrated that he was ultra-confident in the hooks department and talented enough to sound like he knew what he was doing, but Baird himself was still not entirely convinced.
By contrast, one listen to his new album, ‘I Swear It’s the Truth’, and it’s clear that Baird has not only found his identity, but grabbed his sense of purpose by the wheel and pushed pedal to the metal. Three years of touring successfully can have an effect on one’s confidence, as does the benefit of just having a little more time to mature. Baird, now 25, wrote and recorded Blue Eyed Angels when he was only 21, at the end of his senior year at TCU in Fort Worth. Baird stayed in Texas after graduation and began carving out his own niche. But even as Blue Eyed Angels found traction on regional radio on the strength of his steady touring and solid singles like “Could Have Been My Baby” and “Fade Away,” Baird formulated his own style, cut with guitars both jangly and crunchy and crisscrossed by rivers of pedal steel and tasteful organ, that quickly set him apart from rest of the Texas crowd.
Here’s Rob Baird with a live performance of his song ‘Can’t Stop Running':
You’ll be hard pressed to find a singer/songwriter who is able to convey sarcasm as well as Hayes Carll (just listen to his song ‘Another Like You’ for a prime example). Wildly literate, utterly slackerly, impossibly romantic, absolutely a slave to the music, this Texan is completely committed to the truth and unafraid to skewer pomposity, hypocrisy and small-minded thinking.Yet his music is, somehow, even embraced by those small-minded thinkers he pokes at in his songs.
In a world of shallow and shallower, where it’s all groove and gloss, that might seem a hopeless proposition. Last year, “Another Like You,” Carll’s stereotype’s attract duet of polar opposites, was American Songwriter’s #1 Song of 2011 – and KMAG YOYO was the Americana Music Association’s #1 Album, as well as making Best of Lists for Rolling Stone, SPIN and a New York Times Critics Choice.
But more importantly than the critical acclaim is the way Carll connects with music lovers across genres lines. Playing rock clubs and honkytonks, Bonnaroo, Stones Fest, SXSW and NXNE, he and his band the Gulf Coast Orchestra merge a truculent singer/songwriter take that combines Ray Wylie Hubband’s lean freewheeling squalor with Todd Snider’s brazen Gen Y reality and a healthy dose of love amongst unhealthy people.
“I guess you could say I write degenerate love songs,” Carll says. “That, and songs about people who’re wedged between not much and even less; people who see how hopeless it is and somehow make it work anyway. “And the best kind of irony, sometimes, is applying no irony and letting reality do the work.”
After releasing Flowers & Liquor in 2002, Carll was voted the Best New Artist of 2002 by The Houston Post. He would go on to release Little Rock, on his own Highway 87 label, which became the first self-owned project to the top the Americana charts.
It wasn’t long until Lost Highway, home of Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Van Morrison and the Drive-By Truckers came calling. Trouble in Mind yielded the tongue firmly in cheek “She Left Me For Jesus,” a know-nothing redneck send-up/beer joint anthem somewhere between “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” and “Up Against the Wall.” “Jesus” was the 2008 Americana Music Awards Song of the Year.
Fiercely individual, Carll’s banged-up take on classic country is honed by the road – sometimes as a man and guitar, sometimes with his scrappy band, but always taking in the vistas and humanity before him. “It comes down to the songs and the people,” he says. “You write about what you see, the things that cross your mind… and then you wanna get out there and play it back to ‘em. You kinda know how you’re doing when you see how the people respond.”
More than a decade into a recording career, Hayes Carll shows no signs of having arrived at his creative apex. Each album expands on his already extreme vintage country, extreme thumping bad road boogie, extreme heartbroken ache – and finds new ways to take on the fate of the nation. Whether it’s the GI protagonist in the propulsive title track of KMAG YOYO, the train wreck objet d’amour of “Drunken Poet’s Dream,” also recorded by Hubbard, the road warrior of both “I Got A Gig” and “Little Rock” or the stoner liberal and the uptight Republican vixen of “Another Like You,” Carll paints vivid pictures of humanity as it really is.
Thick-headed. Avaricious. Squalid. Hungry. Angry. Getting by.
Like so many Texans before him, there’s no agony in the ecstasy – just the wonder of capturing the perfect character in the song. When you’re 6 beers down on a 12 pack night, you know Hayes Carll understands. At a time like that – whether in your own backyard or some jam-packed bar – that’s the best kind of friend to have.
Check out this performance of ‘Another Like You’, featuring Bonnie Whitmore: