A man by the name of Hayes Carll can only belong to one region: the South, where surnames are first names and a two-syllable limit abides. The 32-year-old Carll cut his teeth in the most southerly of southern points, near Galveston on Texas' sticky Gulf Coast. There, he encountered many of the whiskey-soaked, three-fingered characters who populate his traditionalist country weepers and barnburners, which Carll and his cohorts pull off with equal aplomb (on the album's final track, Carll pledges to kick Jesus' ass; and not some random dude named Hey-Zeus, but J.C. himself). While geography dictates that Carll be compared to the likes of Townes Van Zandt and Billy Joe Shaver, he's really more a milieu of Mary Gauthier, Bobby Bare Jr., Mark Knopfler, and Ryan Adams. Like Bare, Carll is smart enough to enlist the adorably girly harmonies of Carey Kotsionis, who sounds like a way less annoying version of Victoria Williams. And like Knopfler, he's man enough to recruit another man- for Knopfler, Vince Gill; for Carll, Thad Cockrell- to help him bare his soul when the record slows to an introspective crawl.
Sat., June 14, 8 p.m., 2008