Words/Pictures by Bradley Darby
The Texas based singer/songwriter stopped through St. Louis and brought along Lost Highway label mates HoneyHoney to support him. We arrived to catch the last few songs of HoneyHoney’s set and I was certainly left wanting more. Suzanne Santo switches between the banjo and fiddle and sings while Ben Jaffe plays guitar and provides backing vocals. There were 2 other guys in the touring band on drums and bass respectively, but I was unable to get their names. The highlight of their set was the last song, a haunting tune called “Ohio” that featured Santo dancing around on banjo while singing haunting vocals. They left the stage to a well deserved standing ovation and I certainly hope they come back to St. Louis soon. I would suggest checking them out, catch them this summer at Sasquatch Music Festival, Coachella Festival and Newport Folk Festival as well as many other dates around the country. Check out a live version of “Ohio” below.
Hayes Carll is touring in support of his most recent album KMAG YOYO, which stands for Kiss My Ass Guys, You’re On Your Own and was hailed by many publications as one of the Best of 2011. After a brief set change, he took the stage right at 9PM and the first few songs featured just Hayes and his guitar. The set was heavy on songs from the newest album, but didn’t leave his prior catalog unscathed. All fans of the Houston born singer songwriter were able to leave happy as he covered songs spanning across all 10 years of his career and hitting all 4 albums.
After acoustic versions of “Live Free and Die” and “Grateful for Christmas”, Snider introduced us to his backing band, The Poor Choices consisting of Scott Davis on guitar, Travis Linville on pedal steel and dobro, Cody Phillips on the bass, and playing only his 4th show with The Poor Choices was Josh Burns on the drums.
After band intros it was into two tracks from 2005, “Good Friends” followed by the title track from the album that song appears on, “Little Rock.” We then got to hear a story from Hayes about how he got to make his first television appearance on Leno. He talked about the excitement he had to finally get a shot at performing live on TV, even though it was Jay Leno, and how psyched he was to get there and meet some big shot celebrity that was the guest on the show… the top guest on the bill that particular night ended up being Kathy Lee Gifford. He then told us that they received word that he was in consideration for a spot on David Letterman months later, and made it as far as to fly into New York only to find out when getting there they were going with another act. Upon watching the show that evening in their motel room, they found out the other guest on the show that night was all 14 of the Sports Illustrated swim suit models. Like most folk style singer songwriters, the stories told by Hayes Carll is one of the best aspects of his shows.
A crowd favorite and unreleased song called “One Bed, Two Girls, Three Bottles of Wine” followed, before which Carll told us how this was a song about every boys fantasy. You can check out a performance of him doing this song live in St. Louis last June at The Pageant across town below. I hope this song is on his next album, as it is one of my personal favorites.
“Drunken Poets Dream” led into a rocking version of “KMAG YOYO” and a stripped down rendition of “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart” that was not at all like the version that appears on 2008′s Trouble in Mind. Carll then told us that it was time for the closest thing they had to a St. Patrick’s Day song and Scott Davis rocked the accordion for “Bottle in My Hand”, a song on the new album that features guest vocals from the legendary Todd Snider. Hayes then sent the band away as fans began to shout suggestions at him. He took one from a guy right down front and said it was one of the first songs he had written, and also one of his longest. He was referring to “Easy Come Easy Go” from his 2002 debut album Flowers and Liquor.
We were then treated to a duet with Hayes performing both the male and female parts for “Another Like You”, a song that proves that “theres not a lot we cant overcome with a little attraction and a lot of alcohol” according to Carll. Instead of leaving the stage, Hayes chose to just stay out and perform one last song, “Long Way Home” from Little Rock. It sounded like he mentioned something about the band coming back out for the song, but that never happened. Unsure if I had misheard that, or if the band wasn’t paying attention. Either way, after Hayes received a standing ovation as he walked towards the door, it took less than a minute before the rest of the boys came out for a true encore.
The set was closed out with “Wild as a Turkey” from Trouble in Mind, followed by the opening track to KMAG YOYO and a rocking closer for a set, “Stomp and Holler”, in which we learn that Hayes Carll is “Like James Brown only white and taller” and tells us that all he wants to do is stomp and holler!
If you haven’t seen Hayes Carll, I would highly suggest you check him out. He is a true entertainer, and you will get to see elements of folk, southern rock, country and blues all incorporated into his show that clocked in at just over an hour and a half. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll want to go home and make babies, because these are after all true degenerate love songs
CHECK BELOW FOR MORE NEVER BEFORE RELEASED VIDEOS FROM HIS JUNE 2011 VISIT TO THE PAGEANT IN ST. LOUIS
4/6 – Berkeley, CA – Freight & Salvage
4/7 – Winters, CA – The Palms
4/8 – Santa Cruz, CA – Kuumbwa Jazz Center
4/12 – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door
4/13 – Bainbridge Island, WA – Treehouse Cafe
4/14 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
4/24 – Stephenville, TX – Larry Joes TX Music Festival
4/25 – Denton, TX – Dan’s Silverleaf
4/26 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge
4/27 – Kansas City, MO – Knuckleheads
5/5 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
5/12 – Canadian, TX – Canadian River Music Festival
5/23 – Columbia, MO – Mojo’s
5/26 – Dallas, TX – Homegrown Music Festival
6/9 – Bellows Falls, VT – Roots on the River