Hayes Carll, Milton Keynes Stables April 29th 2016
By Lesley Hastings
Ok, this will be a shortish review ( do I hear sighs of relief??) as
1. I hadn’t planned on writing it, so made no notes at the time and am relying on my memory!
2. Am ashamed to admit that I knew very little about this artist before the gig ( went on a friend’s recommendation) and don’t want to fill the review with plagiarisms form other sites!
Apparently it has been several years since this Texan songer/songwriter visited the UK for a major tour, he joked that this is partly because his audience is shrinking, his typical fan demographic being ” 70-90 year old males” and looking around at the audience in the sadly only half-full venue it was clear that yes, he does attract those of a “certain age” for some reason i can’t fathom! But the release of his new album ” Lovers and Leavers” ( released a few weeks ago in the States, but only available here on the date of this concert, why are we so often lagging behind? ) has brought him back here, and judging by the crowd’s reaction his British fanbase may be small but they are certainly very loyal.
He brought with him two incredible band members to enhance his accomplished acoustic guitar playing, Geoff Queen on pedal steel/lead guitar and Mike Meadows on percussion/ backing vocals and I was totally blown away by the thee musicians fabulous playing, not to mention the strength of the material throughout the 90 minute set.
Having purchased the new album after the show, I now know that four of the songs came from this one, my favourite being ” Good While it Lasted” , a co-write with the fabulous Will Hoge i have just realised , but i am really loving this entire CD and now need to investigate Hayes’ back catalogue. Other memorable songs from the evening include the very wittily written, ” She Left me For Jesus” and ” Chances Are” which was recorded by Lee Ann Womack on her last album and was Grammy nominated last year. Many of you will be familiar with the cover I’m sure but here is the writer’s own version
The performance was punctuated with some highly entertaining tales which made the evening even more enjoyable, and requests from the audience were also included towards the end of the set.
All in all, this was one of my favourite gigs for a very long time, especially considering i knew none of this guy’s material beforehand ( once again, the fantastic sound quality at this venue helped ensure I could hear every lyric) and he definitely has a new fan who will hopefully be around for a while to see him play again ( in the UK or even in Austin, maybe) as i am pleased to report i am still a little way away from the 70 -90 year age bracket!