10 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like fellow Texans Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt, folk singer Hayes Carll has a knack for making even the bleakest scenes sound like fodder for redemption. His subdued fifth album is filled with wise, weatherworn songs whose truths aren’t always easy to hear. “Baby it’s a hard way/It’s an eternity/We got the life that we wanted/Not the love that we need,” he sings on “The Love We Need,” transforming a line about giving up into one about moving on. Even on comparatively upbeat tracks, like the highlight “Love Is So Easy,” Carll sings less like he’s living in the present than recalling a rose-colored past.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like fellow Texans Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt, folk singer Hayes Carll has a knack for making even the bleakest scenes sound like fodder for redemption. His subdued fifth album is filled with wise, weatherworn songs whose truths aren’t always easy to hear. “Baby it’s a hard way/It’s an eternity/We got the life that we wanted/Not the love that we need,” he sings on “The Love We Need,” transforming a line about giving up into one about moving on. Even on comparatively upbeat tracks, like the highlight “Love Is So Easy,” Carll sings less like he’s living in the present than recalling a rose-colored past.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
48 Ratings
48 Ratings
BLayingBeads

Depressing

Where’d the music go? Hayes, seriously bro, I’m going to pretend this album didn’t happen. Try harder next time.
Since listening to this new album, my therapist tells me I’ve returned to my dark place, She says I need to go outside, but I can’t leave the back of my closet. The day after this album came out, I was crying in the shower and my neighbors pounded on the wall, told me to stop. Beer doesn’t taste good anymore, I forgot how to dance, spring rain doesn’t feel cleansing anymore. I had to delete the album after my girl could’t listen to me cry any longer and left with the dog.
Hayes, I feel you man, but this album is depressing.

thebis

Perfect on a rainy day

Before it became pop music with cowboy hats, good country music could break your heart. Hayes has always had that ability but his past albums had a few too many throw away songs that we’re just clever, or just rocking. This is an album where there is a greater depth behind the brilliant sorrow of the best songs. But there is humor and a greater knowledge of what real love and all should be even if doesn’t last too long. Good for Hayes for daring to do a quiet album we can all hear.

JS6798

Disappointed

His early stuff was so incredibly good — such a unique voice, great writing, just couldn’t get enough. Most of the samples made available for this latest album are so bad I can’t even finish them. KMAG YOYO had its moments but it just wasn’t a solid listen. Unless they can put up some songs that are much better than these, I won’t be buying — and I never thought I’d say that about Hayes.

About Hayes Carll

Born Joshua Hayes Carll, Texas singer and songwriter Hayes Carll received his first guitar at the age of 15 and almost immediately began writing songs influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Dead Poets Society, and the Beat novels and writings of Jack Kerouac, all of which continued to reverberate in his mature songwriting style. After graduating with a history degree from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas in 1998, Carll returned to Texas, settling in Crystal Beach, where he played his own material in the local bars. After a stay in Austin, he returned home and continued to play gigs in the Galveston and Houston area, picking up a loyal following. He signed to Compadre Records and in 2002 released a debut album, Flowers and Liquor, which garnered him favorable comparisons to Townes Van Zandt. Turning down a deal from Sugar Hill Records, Carll released his second album, Little Rock, on his own Highway 87 Records; produced by R.S. Field, it reached the top spot on the Americana charts in 2005. Carll signed with Lost Highway Records a year later in 2006. which released Trouble in Mind in 2008, featuring the clever and increasingly iconic “She Left Me for Jesus,” a song Carll had co-written with Brian Keane.

Four of Carll's songs appeared the 2010 film Country Strong, with Gwyneth Paltrow in the starring role.

Now firmly established as a next-generation singer and writer in the Townes Van Zandt/Guy Clark/Ray Wylie Hubbard style of maverick country-folk, Carll released a second album for Lost Highway, KMAG YOYO (the title comes from the military and is an abbreviation for “Kiss My Ass Guys, You’re On Your Own”), in 2011. The album won the Americana Music Association's Album of the Year award and was placed on several year-end best-of lists by various media outlets.

Carll and Lost Highway parted company the following year. He and his wife also divorced. He began reassessing his career while never quite taking a break. Though he managed to stick closer to Austin, he still toured the U.S. and Europe regularly over the next few years. Lee Ann Womack covered his song "Chances Are" and scored a hit. The song, its performer, and songwriter, all received Grammy nominations in 2015.

In January 2016, Carll issued the pre-release single "The Love That We Need," co-written with Allison Moorer and Jack Ingram. The album Lovers and Leavers, recorded with Joe Henry, followed in April on Thirty Tigers. ~ Steve Leggett

HOMETOWN
Houston, TX
GENRE
Country
BORN
January 9, 1976

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