with The Bluejays
Atlanta, Georgia • 07.19.2005
Texan Hayes Carll burst onto the Americana Scene in a pretty big way this year. His Little Rock CD has held at or near the top position in the Americana charts for a good while. I personally like this CD a lot, Little Rock been one of those recordings that was getting so much attention and acclaim that I just didn’t see the point in spending time writing about it if everyone else already was and it’d all been said already. Hayes Carll has received several nominations for “Song Of The Year” and “Album of the Year” from some of the higher profile Media and Music Industry organizations. This sort of stuff doesn’t always match up with my own personal musical taste and sensibilities but I’d say that it does in this case. It also warms my heart to know that a self-released recording can do so well. Some artists need the help but with some, the artistic integrity of the original idea gets compromised more and more as more people put their thumbprints on the work. Hayes has avoided that trap.
Hayes Carll’s influences do include some of the finest of the legendary Texas Troubadours. He uses these influences and his own more youthful experiences in his songwriting and it puts his work on a level that’s not often seen from someone so young. It certainly didn’t hurt to have production by R.S Field on his Little Rock recording either. All-in-all Hayes has surrounded himself with and has drawn from all the right influences for him. Hayes is young, but he’s an “Old Soul” type so these older influences serve him much better than they do some who point to the same people as their influences. The other — and more important — barometer of a working artist’s chances of making it is how the live shows come off. Hayes Carll certainly excelled at this.
At several points in the beginning of the show there were some yakkers at the bar who were not there for the music. These guys were sufficiently humiliated by the chorus of shushing that went on to the point that they all either shut up or left the venue in pretty short order, leaving Hayes free to deliver one of the most engaging performances that I’ve seen out of any new artist in many years.
Hayes has a biting sense of humor and just the right amount of smart between-song banter to keep the continuity going but take the audience on a journey. He succeeded in delivering a live performance that stood up to and at times even surpassed what he’d earlier put to tape. I expect that Hayes will be around for a good long while. If he’ll just buy a Nudie Suit, hook up with Emmylou and make a run to Joshua Tree, he’ll surely be golden.
See him when you get the chance. It’ll be worth the trip.
Hayes Carll: hayescarll.com