This turned out to be kind of a surprising show. I've seen Hayes once before and it was a rollicking, high time at Threadgill's. He has an avid fan base. They are best described as those who like to overindulge on cigs, beer and just want to dance and party the night away. I figured we'd get the same type of carnival atmosphere for this performance. We didn't. In fact, it was pretty darn mellow.
I think Hayes writes great songs. He kind of carries the blue collar, just a good old boy badge but he is one heckuva writer. A true poet. A traveling troubadour, to be sure. Not to mention, he wrote the best country song ever, "She Left Me For Jesus." He didn't play it on this night, darn it.
We did get many selections off his great "Trouble In Mind" album: "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart," "Girl Downtown," "It's A Shame," "I Got a Gig." Also got some older songs like "Little Rock" and "Down The Road Tonight." He played a couple of new songs, one of which might be called "Stomp and Holler." Sounded like vintage Hayes.
This was not a high energy show. Maybe because Hayes was in day 3 of not smoking, I don't know. It was a good show, don't get me wrong. But it didn't have that drive that gets everybody up off their rears. He's got so many great shuffles and country boogies that get you going, usually. Maybe he just felt like mellowing out for an "unplugged" show.
I have one beef with Shady Grove. They installed new spotlights about 2 months ago, maybe. They're really great. For some reason, on this night, they didn't adjust them for the band members so Hayes and the other 2 up front players were in the dark the entire evening. Meanwhile, we got the drummer and bass player in the lights all night. Ridiculous.
You can catch a glimpse of one of his new songs here: