In Other Words * (Artist Friendly)
Hayseed honed his pipes in the Pentecostal church in his native western Kentucky, where as a kid he was encouraged to belt to his heart's content and let the echoes rumble around in the rafters. And all of that uninhibited vocal training and plain natural talent contributed to one burly, resonant instrument. He released his debut, Melic, in 1998 and even though it was essentially a set of tweaked demos, accolades rained down from people such as Lucinda Williams, who guested on the album. Williams, who is not prone to hyperbole, told No Depression magazine that the time-transcendent quality of Hayseed's muse was on a par with the work of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Van Morrison. In a story all too familiar, Watermelon Records tanked and Melic didn't reach a mass audience (although Hayseed was able to retrieve ownership of his album).
Melic was remarkable not only for Hayseed's vocals but also for his songwriting. The album seemed to have one foot in old-timey and gospel traditions and one foot firmly in the concerns of contemporary culture, with a bright literary streak running through the proceedings.
It may seem an odd choice then that, for his sophomore outing, In Other Words, Hayseed chose to do an album of covers; however, the results are uplifting. He cherry-picked a bunch of tunes by artists working the fringes of country (Americana, alt-country, whatever you want to call it), including Tommy Womack, Duane Jarvis and Tim Carroll. He also tackled the traditional gospel tune "Farther Along" as a duet with Emmylou Harris. Helping Hayseed (who doesn't play an instrument) bring these songs to life are longtime collaborator Richard "Hombre" Price and a bunch of fine players. Upon listening to the primarily acoustic and wonderfully organic effort (which is dedicated to Hayseed's father, the late Rev. Dwight Wyant), it doesn't seem like such a strange move after all, but a perfect follow-up to Melic. And given Hayseed's penchant for bucking expectations, it's fitting that he included a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson in the liner notes-for it was Emerson who suggested that the best artists adopt no models, but forge their own paths. And that seems to be exactly what Hayseed is doing with his new-millennium country-gospel.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Outta Line
2. There Is A Light
4. Irah June
5. Farther Along (with Emmylou Harris)
6. Ring The Bell
7. I Walk Slow
8. Old-Time Preacher Man
9. Too Much To Gain To Lose (with Joy Lynn White)
10. When Country Singers Were Ugly
11. Falling Off The Face Of The World