Eighth album, business as usual for multi-award winner.
Hayes Carll ploughs a rarified furrow in the world of Americana – oft compared with Prine and Dylan for his ability to craft a song with deeper than the surface resonance, he is a multi-award winner who writes catchy and inviting country songs that do not particularly fit the ‘country’ pigeonhole. On this very site we have featured a top ten Hayes Carll list so as a reviewer it is incumbent to assess whether this latest work competes with or even surpasses those heights.
The album was produced by his wife Alison Moorer and guitarist Kenny Greenberg and it is pin-sharp. Each song has a completeness about it. The opener ‘Nice Things’, a wry commentary from the point of view of God surveying the indolence of man with his creation, rattles along with brio, a modern country song in full flight. ‘Help Me Remember’ a beautiful meditation with exquisite steel supporting the lonesome vocal and acoustic picking. Less interesting are tracks such as ‘Any Other Way’ which feels by the numbers but this is soon forgotten by the epic ‘Different Boats’ with its worn vocals rubbing against Fender Rhodes and shards of guitar to a slow bluesy shuffle. Delicious. ‘She’ll Come Back To Me’ is a parched, brooding desert anthem with Carll raging against the fates that have taken his love and a killer chorus.
If you are a fan you will love this album, if you are new to Carll this is as good a place to start as any; particularly for the aforementioned tracks. Essentially the quality control is still working fine! Classy stuff.