Hayes Carll: KMAG YOYO
With his last album, 2008’s Trouble in Mind, Hayes Carll proved to be a real Texas songwriter. His latest effort, KMAG YOYO (in military terms: Kiss my ass, you’re on your own), he’s given the perfect mixture of songs to drunkenly sing along to in a bar or wallow in self pity alone with a glass of whiskey. In other words, it’s some real good country music.
Carll, who is nominated for the Americana Music Awards artist of the year is a mix of Waylon Jennings and Guy Clark. What sets him apart both from mainstream country or modern alt-country, is his blending of the two styles. His sound has an old school country rock element to it, combined with more poetic, socially concious lyrics. But, in his own words from the track “Hard Out Here,” he sings ” “You ain’t a poet, just a drunk with a pen.” Spoken like a true Texan.
The title track, “KMAG YOYO” (which is nominated for the AMA song of the year), is a Texas Countryfied take on Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” Carll proves on this album that he is able to write good ol’ honky tonk tunes like “Stomp and Holler,” as well as somber, reflective Townes Van Zandt style ballads like “The Letter” and “Bye Bye Baby.”
Though with Trouble in Mind, it was difficult to see how Carll could fit into the Americana genre, KAMAG YOYO puts him in a class with the new generation of great songwriters (Justin Townes Earle, Joe Pug, Ryan Bingham). Like the outlaws of the 70s, these guys will prove to be real country music’s answer to Nashville.
Carll performing “Hard Out Here”