Hayes Carll – Tickets – Aladdin Theater – Portland, OR – November 15th, 2017

Hayes Carll

Hayes Carll

The Band Of Heathens

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Aladdin Theater

Portland, OR


This event is all ages

Hayes Carll
Hayes Carll
I’m a singer-songwriter.

I think “Lovers and Leavers” comes closer to reflecting that than any other record I’ve made.

I didn’t worry about checking boxes, making sure there was something here for everybody, or getting on the radio.

I just took some much needed deep breaths and let them out on tape.

It’s been a while since my last album by some measurements of time. Not “history of the universe time”, or “getting a bill through congress time”, but in the lives of dogs and recording artists, five years and fifty-three days is only a little less than an eternity.

I went through a divorce. I fell in love.

Changes were made, realizations were realized, and life was lived.

But, I kept on writing songs, on my own and with a cast of accomplished characters who combined their own stories and perspectives with mine.

Songs about my friends.

Songs about my son.

Songs about beginnings and endings.

Songs about songs.

Songs about acceptance and regret.

Songs about lovers and leavers.

With these songs in hand, I needed a co-conspirator to help me get them to you.

I called on Joe Henry, a gentleman poet and an elegant artist who seemed a trustworthy steward for my collection.

We recorded this record live in five days, using just an acoustic guitar, a mix of bass, percussion, pianos and organs, and a touch of pedal steel.

I didn’t have one song that I knew would be a sing along or would make people dance. I felt vulnerable in a way that I hadn’t in a long time. But I got what I wanted – a record with space, nuance, and room to breathe. It felt right for my art. It felt right for my life.

“Lovers and Leavers” isn’t funny or raucous. There are very few hoots and almost no hollers.

But it is joyous, and it makes me smile.

No, it’s not my “Blood on the Tracks,” nor is it any kind of opus.

It’s my fifth record — a reflection of a specific time and place.

It is quiet, like I wanted it to be.

Like I wanted to be.

Hayes Carll

January 1, 2016

Austin, TX.
The Band Of Heathens
The Band Of Heathens
duende – [duen-de] (noun) 1. a quality of inspiration and passion 2. A heightened sense of
emotion, expression and authenticity 3. a spirit
Duende, the title of The Band of Heathens’ fifth studio album (and eighth overall), marks their
tenth anniversary as a group, and it certainly applies to its overall theme about the collective
search for connection and communion in a technology-fueled world increasingly splintered,
distracted and lonely. As band co-founder Ed Jurdi, who first learned of the term, explains, “It’s
the essence of the artist,” or as partner Gordy Quist says, “It’s a word we don’t have an
equivalent for in English, Artistically, that’s where we tried to set the bar, to do what this band
does best.”
Indeed, Duende lives up to those high ideals, a stylistically diverse effort that takes a leap
beyond their last, more acoustic, introspective effort, 2013’s Sunday Morning Record, with an
eclectic batch of material that shows where The Band of Heathens has been, but more
importantly, where they are going.
There are high-energy rockers like the Keith Richards-Chuck Berry guitars and barrelhouse
piano in “Trouble Came Early” as well as the Grateful Dead-by-way-of J.J. Cale Oklahoma
boogie in “Keys to the Kingdom,” The Band-meets-New Orleans honky-tonk blues of “Sugar
Queen,” the British Invasion harmonies laced through “Deep Is Love,” the south-of-the-border
flavor of “Road Dust Wheels” and the New Riders pedal steel country twang of “Green Grass of
California,” an ode to the more potent strains of sensimilla on the dispensary shelf and a fervent
plea to “legalize it.” Duende also touches on some of The Band of Heathens’ favorite topics,
from the sacrifices of a life lived on the road (“All I’m Asking”) to the limits of materialism (“Keys
to the Kingdom”), social media absorption (“Cracking the Code”), and a moving depiction of
Mexican immigration in an age of increased discrimination (“Road Dust Wheels”).
“Road Dust Wheels” is particular timely, dealing specifically with the migration of workers from
Mexico and Latin America. “It’s not about the politics of the situation,” explains Jurdi, “but a
meditation on people trying to get together to find their own slice of the American Dream, which
has been our greatest export to the outside world. Unfortunately, we’ve got leaders trying to
divide us, spitting venom and vitriol, trying to get elected by pitting us against each other rather
than realizing, almost without exception, we create the same felling of community and
connection, regardless of religion, race or immigration status.”
Similarly, according to Quist, “Keys to the Kingdom” is a portrait of someone who falls prey to
the consumer culture of more, unable to enjoy the present because she’s obsessed with
wanting more in the future… and it doesn’t end well. “Sugar Queen” is its sequel, the same
character as a newly divorced cougar looking for love in a younger man, told from the
perspective of that younger man, another song about the thirst for real connection.
Thematically, Quist’s “Cracking the Code” comes closest to reiterating the album’s desire to
reconsider the value of relationships and priorities in a world of virtual reality and social media.
“While modern technology has certainly allowed us to stay in touch over vast distances –
something a band that lives on the road certainly appreciates – it doesn’t really provide the
authentic connection we crave,” says Gordy. “We’ve created a portal through which we lose
ourselves and miss what’s really going on right in front of us, hiding the fact our supposed
connected culture can be a really lonely place.”
“Deep Is Love” is another song about loneliness on the road, according to Quist. “At the time, I
felt like I had all these tools to stay in touch with my family – from Facetime to Skype – but all
the while we were missing the deeper connection that comes from being physically present in
one another’s lives.”
Likewise, Jurdi describes “All I’m Asking” as a song about “missing his wife… lost opportunities,
second chances and getting back to the place where it’s just about two people in the same room
having a special moment together without outside interference.”
Armed with almost 40 songs all together, the group recorded in a variety of different locations,
the majority in the Texas Treefort, a studio in their own Austin backyard, where they took
advantage of the vintage broadcast tube equipment to create the album’s warm, inviting sound.
All the tracks were initially laid down live in the studio by the full band, making an effort to keep
the music infused with its “analog” elements as well as the communal feel.
“I feel the album brings together all our influences, everything we’ve done over the years as a
band,” explains Jurdi. “We’ve touched on every part of our career… our roots, some singer/
songwriter contemplative stuff, some high-energy rock ‘n’ roll. It’s all us, the record we were
supposed to make. Ten years later, that’s what keeps us coming back.”
“We really opened ourselves up to the collaborative process this time,” adds Gordy. “The trust
we have between us enabled us to chase down our individual ideas wherever they take us.
That’s the beauty of being in a band.”
Engineer/co-producer Jim Vollentine (Spoon, White Rabbits, …And You’ll Know Us by the Trail
of Dead) helped the album’s diversity sound coherent, adding unique touches such as mellotron
and drum machines to the loping rockabilly of tracks like “All I’m Asking.”
“It’s amazing how getting the right sounds just brought the songs to life,” adds Ed. “Hearing it
come back at us through the speakers was really inspiring.”
Gordy explains: “We based the album’s eclecticism on our live shows, where texturally, we go
through peaks and valleys. We have this library of music in our heads and at our fingers, and
when we go into the studio, the challenge is how to go from that into making something new.”
The term “Americana” was practically invented to describe The Band of Heathens’ approach,
which has mutated almost as much as the genre to which they’re identified. And while the
Rolling Stones and The Beatles remain touchstones on songs like “Sugar Queen” and “Deep Is
Love,” respectively, influences as diverse as Sly and the Family Stone (in the psychedelic fuzztones
of “Daddy Long Legs”) and Latin music (“Road Dust Wheels”) also rear their heads.
Literary inspirations also come into play, ranging from a character in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar
depicted in as a strutting cougar in “Sugar Queen” (“She even talks dirty/When she’s on her
knees to pray”) to Tom Standage’s A History of the World in Six Glasses, which recounts how
beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and Coca-Cola have shaped culture and civilization to modern
times (“Trouble Came Early”). “Green Grass of California” – with its praise of today’s strong
strains of bud and a fervent plea for legalization -- was recorded in Nashville and supposed to
include harmonies by Tim Easton, who ate a marijuana cookie and inadvertently lived out the
song’s lyrics (“When your eyes are red/Spinning in your head/Remember it’s only in your
mind)”), unable to continue.
Duende is The Band of Heathens playing to their strengths, unapologetically constructed as an
old-school 10-track, two-sided vinyl album (which it will be released as, with a second disc
encompassing four songs from their Green Grass EP released earlier this year).
For co-founders Jurdi and Quist, the album represents a new beginning.
“Our goal is always to make the best record we could make,” says Jurdi. “We’re taking our
influences and pushing them into different sonic territory. I feel the band is in a great place to
take that next step. More than ever, people need to feel connected. Just like Paul Revere or the
town crier, we’re messengers trying to spread the good word and tap into the communal spirit
that is created in the wake of music and song. To make your way through the world via
inspiration and ultimately, creation, is truly a gift; it’s something we never take for granted. The
singular purpose is always to bring our best stuff to the table, whether making a record or
playing a show. The hope is that it both resonates with our long-time fans and strikes a chord
with people who are just being introduced to the music.”
“We just try to keep writing songs that mean something to ourselves and others,” concludes
Gordy. “The challenge for us as artists, in these disturbing times, is how can we change things?
Music is fun and an excuse to get out with other human in a room together, but you also hope
the songs will mean something when someone is all alone in their room listening to the record.
This band is better than it’s ever been.”
With Duende, the proof is in the results. Let them change your mind.