COVID-19 has country and Americana artists doing all kinds of creative things to stay busy and afloat, and it’s not like we haven’t had a flood of socially distanced records hit the streaming services for better or worse. But there’s only a few artists that can take an acoustic guitar and a song and steal your undivided attention, and Hayes Carll is one of them.
To be released on on September 4th via Dualtone, the Alone Together Sessions is an acoustic record that will see acclaimed songwriter Hayes Carll reprise some of his favorite songs calling all the way back to his debut album Flowers & Liquor in 2002. It was inspired by a picking session in December with fellow writer Darrell Scott, and Carll is joined by Scott, along with Ray Wylie Hubbard and wife Allison Moorer on the album.
“Most of my parts were recorded in the one-room studio that sits in our backyard,” Hayes Carll explains. “We call it The Doghouse. Allison was able to do her part with me live. Ray Wylie flew his parts on ‘Drunken Poet’s Dream,’ in by X-ray beams from Texas, Darrell worked his magic from his home, and here we are. A whole new world, a whole new way to make records, but the same idea of fingers on strings, voices on a mic, and songs from the heart.”
Over time, the now 44-year-old Hayes Carll has not only earned critical acclaim, but he’s quickly put a surprising resume together of songs that have gone on to be recorded by others. There are some names you might expect like The Hard Working Americans and fellow native Texan Jack Ingram. But there’s also Lee Ann Womack, Kenny Chesney, and the Brothers Osborne recently announced a co-write with Carll on their upcoming album Skeletons.
“Over all these years, I’ve never really looked at how all these songs fit together,” Carll explains. “I never thought about what they had in common or how they’ve built on one another. When Darrell and I started talking and trading files, I had to step back and learn something about how all this happened…not just the songs, but the life. And in what’s easily the funkiest time any of us have ever faced, some of the songs have taken on new shapes and other meanings.”
Hayes Carll’s last original album What It Is from 2019 had many singing his praises, and it felt like a return to form of what made him such an exciting artist when he emerged in the early 2000’s. The (still) timely “Times Like These” from that album makes the set, while a never-before-recorded version of the old song “That’s The Way Love Goes” made famous by Lefty Frizzell also is included.
“It’s probably good to pause every now and then, to take stock of everything,” Carll says. “When you make your living playing out there for the people, you’re a moving target. That momentum doesn’t leave much time for thinking about what happened, let alone what it all means. At best, you’re sifting those moments into songs – or stuff to talk about at the next show – so something like this is a real luxury for a guy like me. How often does someone get to go back in, change the rhythms, turn up guitars, shift the perspective of a lyric or the delivery of a vocal? The more you sing these songs, the more you learn about them.”
Alone Together Sessions is now Available for pre-order from Dualtone and Amazon.
- Arkansas Blues – Flowers and Liquor (2002)
- Drunken Poet’s Dream – Trouble In Mind (2008)
- Times Like These – What It Is (2019)
- Bad Liver And A Broken Heart – Trouble In Mind (2008)
- Down The Road Tonight – Little Rock (2005)
- That’s The Way Love Goes – (Lefty Frizzell)
- KMAG YOYO – KMAG YOYO (2011)
- Bye Bye Baby – KMAG YOYO (2011)
- Sake Of The Song – Lovers And Leavers (2016)
- Beaumont – Trouble In Mind (2008)
- Wild As A Turkey – Trouble In Mind (2008)