Monday 21 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Hayes’ code

Hayes’ code

How did Hayes Carll earn ‘next big thing’ status? By doing the kind of country Willie Nelson used to do.

Joshua Boydston March 30th, 2011

Hayes Carll with Shovels & Rope
8 p.m. Friday Wormy Dog Saloon
311 E. Sheridan, 601-6276

You may be surprised to spot a country artist like Hayes Carll residing between the respectively pop and alternative-friendly pages of Rolling Stone and Spin, but you wouldn’t be the only one — Carll included.

The singer/songwriter and terrible vacuum salesman had a failed go at a music career in Austin, Texas, before returning home to Houston. For years, he made his way across the country, playing along the likes of The Old 97’s and Steve Earle to fanfare outside the realm of die-hard Americana enthusiasts. He never expected much press or recognition, let alone being labeled “The Next Big Thing of 2011.”

Carll guessed that’s what happens when you are doing something no one else is doing … which is doing something that’s been done for decades.

“For the most part, I think it’s the songwriting that’s helping me,” Carll said. “There’s no Willie or Waylon out there in the mainstream anymore. Not that I think I’m comparable to them, but people have seemed to responded to the songs and the substance there, instead of pop filler.”

His approach straddles a line between folk, Americana and altcountry, not knowing himself which way he leans.

“It’s a weird thing to try and label. I’m a singer/songwriter who sings with a bit of a twang, but I’ve never worried too much about how it comes off,” he said. “Whether it’s indie-rock kids or old country bands or the coffee shop crowd, I’ll take them all and hope there is a little something for everybody.”

He’s applied a follow-your-gut philosophy through four full-length albums, including this year’s “KMAG YOYO,” which saw him taking a few strides out of his comfort zone.

“I had a closer relationship with the music as I was writing. In the past, it was me sitting down on the porch with a guitar, and jotting down ideas and trying to make it complete musically,” Carll said. “Me and my three chords is a little limiting in some ways, and going into the studio and trying to make something out of it can be a little challenging. I just wrote with my band as we were on the road, and it was a fun exercise, for sure.”

The one thing that hasn’t changed?

His razor-sharp lyrics and often self-deprecating narratives.

“I’ve never been able to take myself too incredibly seriously. I’ve always written because I want to translate some moment in time or some emotion I had and share it with other people, but I approach it like I do my life: with a smile,” he said. “I’ve never felt the need to hit people over the head with the depth of my genius.”

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