LOOK AT YOU–THE HARDEST THING–ALL MY HEROES–HAND OF THE DEVIL–ALL FALL DOWN–HOME AGAIN–HELPING HAND–ASHES AND DUST (ERIN’S SONG)–A PEACEFUL REVOLUTION–LIFE GOES ON–SOMETHING DEEP WITHIN–HOME AGAIN (REPRISE)
To begin, let us say that Mitch Hayes’ latest album, “Heroes,” is not a blues album. But, it is a fine collection of music for troubling times–there’s folk, Americana, and even a spate of country–that documents the hopes, dreams, and fears of a man who is still able to put his words into music after overcoming some serious health issues. That’s part of the beauty of this album—thus far, he is completely free of throat cancer–and, on some cuts, his vocals are crystal-clear, and on others, he has a bit of a rasp, but it simply adds to his honesty, and–take it from a writer who’s survived open-heart surgery two times–we can wear these scars as our badges of honor.
The music is no less honest. His voice has that Springsteen-ish quality on the opening cut, “Look At You–I can feel your love, and you make my rhyme.” When the affair is over, tho, “The Hardest Thing” is the letting-go process. This one has fine pedal steel from Eric Lovell, giving the song a good, alt-country vibe. “The Hand Of The Devil” takes that premise one step further. With old-time fiddle and banjo, this is classic story-in-song country at its best. It details an aging shootist who meets his demise at the hands of a younger gun, prompting the line, “I’m an old man in a young man’s game!” A man who’s like a lot of us who grew up in the Sixties, wondering aloud where is “the goodness of man?” It’s a powerful story entitled “All Fall Down,” asking us all to spread love, not hate. That vibe continues with the reggae-fied call for unity, “A Peaceful Revolution.”
We had two favorites, too. An ode to Mitch’s musical influences a a young man–Elvis, Lennon, Jimi, and Janis–those who “changed the world”–is “All My Heroes.” And, a man’s journey thru life from age 17 to 83 is the poignant memoir that is “Life Goes On.”
In times of strife, this nation has often turned to music to help in the healing process. With Mitch Hayes and “Heroes,” this is a powerful poultice for your soul. Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.