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In Field & Town


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Album Review

Fans of Iron & Wine didn't have to wait long before Sam Beam's hushed, lo-fi recordings gave way to the Technicolor lushness of Woman King and The Shepherd's Dog. Hayden, on the other hand, has spent more than a decade creating somber, subdued music, which makes In Field & Town such a startlingly pleasant change. Hayden hasn't done away with the intimacy of his previous work, nor does the singer's seventh studio album change his melancholic nature. For all intents and purposes, In Field & Town paints the same picture as Elk-Lake Serenade and The Closer I Get, but it does so with brighter colors and wider brush strokes, capturing the slow demise of a relationship with a mix of pianos, trumpets, guitars, vibraphones, harmonica, and percussion. It's always autumn or winter in Hayden's world, and these 11 tracks bypass the springlike feel of puppy love, focusing instead on the unraveling of hope and adoration. "Take it easy," he cautions on the opening title track, a song whose chugging bass loop and percussion clash with the foreboding lyrics. "I see us around this uptight town," it continues, "with emptiness just weighing us down." That weight gets heavier as the album progresses, and Hayden begins lamenting his lover's estrangement just three songs later with "Worthy of Your Esteem." But while that track is certainly heartbroken, it's also orchestrated with lighthearted synths, harmonies, and knotted guitar solos. Songs like "Did I Wake Up Beside You" and "Where and When" continue the light-and-dark contrast, with Hayden's vocals spinning solemn stories over riffs that bounce and shine in a dusty, Americana-styled way. There are detours from that pattern — most notably the elegiac portrayal of a security guard who excels at origami ("Lonely Security Guard") — but In Field & Town is mostly concerned with Hayden's heartbreak, and it details those emotions with variety and taste.

Customer Reviews


"Everything I long" for will always be Haydens' Masterpiece. You hate to wish sadness on someone but some people just need to be a little meloncholy to truly get there point across. This wasn't that bad, but it left me hoping that his dog dies before he records again

Great Stuff...

This is guy is good. Why more people don't know about him I'll never know. His melodies are haunting and unforgettable. Yes, it's mostly downer music, but he's got it down to an art. Meloncholy without sounding whiny. Just beautiful heartache on every track. Highly recommend- this album and Elk Lake Serenade. In my all time favorites.

Superb! Buy it without a doubt!

In Field & Town is Hayden's most consistent and approachable album to date. Hayden and his band have a great somber mood frames lyrics perfectly. If one had to choose three songs to pay close attention to, look at "In Field & Town," "Weight of the World," and "Did I Wake Up Beside You." The latter evokes memories of "Dynamite Walls," my favorite off of Skyscraper National Forest. I recommend this album to any fan of meaningful music. Buy it for you. Buy it for your dad. Buy it for your boy or girl friend. My personal preference is for buying physical albums, but if you can't find it in stores, go for the gold. Whatever you do, listen here.


Born: 1971 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Toronto's Hayden Desser spent the bulk of two decades creating uniquely affecting music through a combination of rock and folk flourishes, personal sentiments, and a voice that channeled both the falsetto highs of Neil Young and the wavering raspy low tones of Leonard Cohen. The critically acclaimed musician first appeared in the early '90s, armed with only a four-track tape recorder like his heroes in Sebadoh and Pavement. Coupling his unnaturally low range with an extremely detuned guitar, Hayden...
Full Bio