Hayes Carll’s stunning new record Lovers and Leavers is out today. He will embark on a brief Texas tour before heading off to the UK at the end of the month, then back Stateside for dates through the summer.
As you may have noticed, I’ve been anticipating this release since Carll first announced last year that he’d be recording it with Joe Henry at the production helm. His stated purpose at that time was to create something a bit more introspective, downplaying perhaps some of the rambunctious humor of his earlier work (i.e. “She Left Me For Jesus”).
Lovers and Leavers is certainly quintessential Carll – quieter, more reflective, for sure, but not without his trademark insight and humor. It is perhaps the most spare record Joe Henry has ever produced, placing the emphasis squarely on Carll’s voice and guitar, underpinned by the percolating rhythm section of Jay Bellerose and David Piltch, occasionally accented by the keys of Tyler Chester and pedal steel of Eric Heywood. Interestingly, this is easily Carll’s most personal and often revealing album of songs, but each tune is credited with a co-writer, an approach that Carll has said brings added perspective to his own voice. Check out the very personal “The Magic Kid” (written with Darrell Scott) for evidence that Carll has brilliantly found ways marry personal details with universal truths about innocence and fearlessness.
Hayes Carll could not have found a more sympathetic producer than Joe Henry for this record, which is no doubt a significant milestone in Carll’s career. As a fan of both artists’ work long before this collaboration, I can wholeheartedly say that it has exceeded my hopes in every way.
Please check it out. Here’s a quick review and press roundup:
- No Depression (by Don McCleese)
- No Depression article (by Raymond E. Lee)
- All Music (by Thom Jurek)
- Glide Magazine (by Lee Zimmerman)
- Folk Alley (by Kelly McCartney) and live session (recorded at the recent 30A Songrwiters Festival)
- PopMatters (by Eric Risch)
- Paste Magazine article (by Geoffrey Himes)
- Austin Chronicle review and feature
- Austin American Statesman article (by Peter Blackstock)
- Houston Chronicle article (by Andrew Dansby)
- Saving Country Music
- For The Country Record
- Joe Henry interview with The Bluegrass Situation (by Stephen Duesner)
- Hayes Carll interview with The Bluegrass Situation (by Kelly McCartney)
And from those Folk Alley 30A Sessions, here is Carll with the incomparable Allison Moorer on “Love Don’t Let Me Down” (not performed as a duet on the album, btw)…