Hayes Carll released his sixth album, “What it is” on February 15th, on Nashville label “Dualtone Records“. It was produced by Brad Jones, who had also been producer for Hayes Carll’s “Trouble in mind” (2008) and “KMAG YOYO” (2011), and recorded in “Alex the Great” studio, in Nashville. Allison Moorer, Hayes Carll’s fiancee, was also coproducer and cowriter for the album. She cowrote half of the 12 songs of the album.
“What it is” was awaited, as Houston native singer’s previous album, “Lovers and leavers“, had been released on April 2016, almost 3 years ago.
Its first single, “None’Ya“, cowritten by Allison Moorer, Adam Landry and Hayes Carll, is one of the best songs of a brilliant album. It was also the first to have a music video, released on January 11th. This video is a beautiful acoustic version of the song, released on the front porch with Allison Moorer. I recommend to watch it, for those who haven’t seen it yet.
Songwriter Adam Landry also cowrote with Allison Moorer and Hayes Carll another amazing song, “Be There“. It’s a beautiful ballad with excellent songwriting (“You say you will… But I know you won’t be there“) and a perfect use of fiddle.
One of my favorite songs is “Times like these“. If you begin listening to this song, you won’t stay a lot of time on your seat, as it’s an invitation to go to do the dance hall. “I just wanna to do my labor, love my girl, and help my neighbor, while I’m keeping all my joie de vivre“, says Hayes Carll, ending with a french expression. A music video of this catchy and rockabilly-style song was released about two weeks ago and it’s just amazing!
Old style rock and rockabilly sound are also present with two other awesome songs, “Beautiful thing” and “If I may be so bold“. “Beautiful thing“, a powerful and creative song, cowritten with Allison Moorer, is my other favorite song of the album. The piano is irresistible and it’s difficult not to want to dance with such a masterpiece. “If I may be so bold“, beginning with excellent bass, is another great piece, an old style song very refreshing.
“Wild pointy finger“, written with Adam Landry, is an excellent Americana song with harmonica, banjo… and this hypocritical finger “that points at Parisians across the sea” (no I’m not concerned, I’m not a Parisian but a Southern French…).
With “Fragile men“, we have a satire of KKK and white supremacists, cowritten with Lolo a week after Charlottesville events. Listening to it, I think it could be a perfect song for some Hollywood movie.
“Things you don’t wanna know“, cowritten by Charlie Mars, is another way for Texan singer (now living between NY and Nashville) to talk about his vision of USA: “No, nobody wants to hear the truth, nah, they only wanna see a show and maybe you should stop askin’ bout things you don’t wanna know...”.
“American Dream” is another excellent catchy song, beautifully written, and the way banjo and mandolin combine on “What it is“, the title track, is just amazing.
With this album, you have a mix of some politically-charged lyrics and love songs, with excellent songwriting, satire, irony and always a lot of sense of humor. Listening “What it is“, you will find the best of Americana, Texas country and old style rock. And we love that!