Hayes Carll Prepares For a Personal Album With an Acoustic in Hand

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Mishawaka Amphitheatre
June 10­­­
Tuft Theatre at Swallow Hill
June 11
Belly Up Aspen
June 12
Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Festival
June 13

 

By BRIAN F. JOHNSON

Hayes Carll and a bunch of his fans are getting restless. It’s been more than four years since the Texas songwriter released his last disc, the overwhelmingly celebrated KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories), and while Carll has been promising a new set of songs for some time, so far, nothing has been put down.

“I’ve been saying for a couple of years now that I was going to get something out, but for various reasons, it just hasn’t happened. But I mean it this time,” he said laughing, during a recent interview with The Marquee. “I’ve always been a slow writer. I’m not terribly prolific, but it works for me. It’s a combination of a lot of things on this one that made the time not work as originally intended, but it’s all going to come together.”

Carll still doesn’t have a definitive time when he’s going to hit the studio other than “hopefully the end of summer” and he said he still has quite a bit of writing to do before he gets to that point, but those impatient to hear the new record could get some deep insight into where it’s going to go when Carll returns to the Front Range this month. “I’m just enjoying the process of writing and experimenting with things right now, but yeah, I enjoy road testing things. It gives me security knowing that it can work for a crowd. I’ve never considered myself a recording artist, and I guess I am, but I’ve made my living playing in front of people and that’s always been my touchstone as a writer for whether or not something works. I like to go out and put it out there and see if it feels ready,” Carll said.

Even if Carll is full of shit and it takes several more years until a follow up to KMAG YOYO is released, questioning his methods at this juncture seems ludicrous. He apparently knows what he’s doing.

KMAG YOYO (an acronym which stands for ‘Kiss My Ass Guys, You’re On Your Own) was listed as one of the best albums of 2011 by both American Songwriter and Spin magazines. American Songwriter also went on to name the song “Another Like You” their number one song of 2011.

Carll has said that KMAG as a whole was an irreverent tale about somebody checking out from society and moving out to the desert to essentially say “fuck it” to the world. He took a different approach to writing and recording the album, relying for once on riffs and rhythms to shape the songs, rather than starting with lyrical content as he had in the past. But for his new material Carll intends to get personal and with that, it means sitting on the porch with his acoustic guitar and coming up with songs the way he always has.

“In the past I tried to hide what I was really trying to say — to not really be that transparent about what was going on in my mind and my life and I kind of camouflaged it in humor or cleverness, which works in certain ways,” he said. “But I feel like making some personal music right now and that starts with the writing, and that’s been the focal point — just trying to get out what I want to say in the most honest way, and letting that be the foundation and seeing what happens musically after that.”

So if KMAG was the final “go fuck yourself” album of an angry young man, the next album it seems might show a wiser, more reflective story of a man who has grown. “It’s a bit of a cliché, but that’s probably accurate,” Carll said. “I’ve been on the road since I was 22 and I love that. I’ve lived it to the fullest, but one day you wake up and you realize a lot of time has gone by and that maybe my development as a human was somewhat stunted and I didn’t really pay attention to some things that I really needed to. So I’ve been taking a little time and looking into that.”

 

Hayes Carll

Mishawaka Amphitheatre

June 10­­­

 

Tuft Theatre at Swallow Hill

June 11

 

Belly Up Aspen

June 12

Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Festival

June 13

 

Go If You Dig:

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  • Townes Van Zandt
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