Hayes Carll, ‘Trouble in Mind’ 

Lost Highway


Hayes Carll is coming for you, young rock fans. He will make a country music believer out of you. He'll have none of this namby-pamby, softly-strummed, lightly twang-tinged, big city “alt-country” stuff, either. Don't let his history degree from Hendrix College fool you, this is the real thing — songs about heartache, drinking whiskey and smoking dope. These are country tunes for people who hate country, where the steel guitars aren't poured on like syrup, and the lyrics aren't scrubbed clean for Bible Belt consumers. As part of a Texas tradition of iconoclastic songwriters like Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett, Carll never plays it safe. On his third CD, “Trouble in Mind,” he continues to deliver the hard-rocking, hard-complaining goods.

True to form, Carll invaded Nashville to make the record and, rather than hire a bigwig country producer, opted instead for power pop legend Brad Jones to helm the project. The result is an album that gleams with sharp, rustic tones and balanced sense of space.

“Arkansas, my head hurts,” Carll nods to us as he opens “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart,” which sounds like a fairly generic country anthem before its third verse, wherein Carll delivers a solid political punch: “Doesn't anyone care about truth anymore? / Maybe that's what songs are for.”

One of his songs may even cause him a little public relations ruckus: “She Left Me for Jesus,” which Don Imus has already hailed as “The Greatest Country Song Ever Written.” It stops just shy of parody, but no doubt there are reactionaries lying in wait who'll demand his head for the line “If I ever find Jesus / I'm kicking his ass.”

Whether channeling John Prine's light touch and sense of humor on tunes like “Girl Downtown,” covering Tom Waits' “I Don't Wanna Grow Up” or hollering like a young Bob Dylan on “A Lover Like You,” Carll's voice cracks in all the right places. He's got the country music chemistry down pat, as well he should after four years of playing six nights a week in south Texas. Just you wait, rock 'n' roll kids. He'll pour whiskey down your gullet and you'll thank him for it.



From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Colter McCorkindale

  • In Memoriam: Hugh Ashley, 1915-2008

    In 1930, a twin-engine Fokker plane was flying low over the wide green valley of Wiley’s Cove, just north of Leslie, Ark.
    • Nov 20, 2008
  • Damn Bullets

    “Electric Folk Boogie” (self-released)
    • Nov 20, 2008
  • Isaac Alexander

    ‘See Thru Me’ Max Recordings
    • Aug 14, 2008
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Music Reviews

  • Cher in North Little Rock

    March 28, Verizon Arena
    • Apr 3, 2014
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers at Verizon

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers took a slightly different musical path to its May induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame than most of their fellow honorees.
    • Oct 31, 2012
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Sept. 30

    The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra opened its season Saturday night with a return visit by the 28-year-old violin virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who had appeared with the orchestra in the Beethoven concerto two years ago.
    • Oct 3, 2012
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation