January 11, 2008

Hayden, The Grad Club, Kingston, 2 November 2007

Posted in bootleg, mp3 at 2:09 pm by rgsc

photo by Elisha & Alan taken Nov. 3, 2007, in Guelph.

After three years, Hayden is releasing his new album on Tuesday. This should be the source of much joy to music fans everywhere as Hayden is one of the most distinctive and gifted songwriters out there. The new record, “In Field & Town” is no great departure in substance or style from his previous work, although the instrumentation does veer away from the guitar+harmonica that Hayden is known for (the album features great piano lines, some wonderful horns, and, in the last song, beautiful pedal steel). This is not a criticism, however, as it is by no means formulaic and what he does, he does very well. As with his earlier albums, the new record is filled with carefully crafted lyrics, clever tropes, confessions, dreams, and wonderful & woeful tales. He excels in narratives of devastating heartbreak, featuring disenfranchised and beaten-down figures. While certainly the songs are not entirely autobiographical, even with the frequent use of the first person “I”, it is hard not to identify the characters in the songs with the singer who, with his distinctively low, crackly voice, seems to have been kicked around a fair bit in his life. It is a voice that allows the listener to identify with and he delivers the lyrics with such great sincerity it is hard not to sympathise with him. Hayden invites us to wallow in his misery. Although I always tend to associate Hayden with the morose, a fair bit of his output centres on tiny intimacies of charmingly naive protagonists and there are always a few moments of victory and a healthy dose of humour in his work as well. ‘In Field & Town’ is a beautiful record, both in its confidence and its fragility.

Hayden previewed a handful of his new songs during a little Ontario tour in November before heading to Europe to open for the National. The songs came to life when performed live and Hayden was fantastic onstage, holding the sold-out Grad Club crowd captivated. He said he hadn’t been in front of a mic in three years and, if that is the case, it didn’t show. It was my first time at a Hayden show, and the ultra-intimate set featuring Hayden with his guitar, harmonica, and piano, with a little help from Howie Beck, was pretty much perfect.

If you have half a chance I highly recommend seeing Hayden in concert. He is touring Ontario throughout the rest of January (with the stunning Basia Bulat) before heading to the East Coast and then Winnipeg and points west in February (with the also stunning Jenn Grant). However, be warned that a bunch of the shows have already sold out and chances are the rest will as well. So get your tickets quickly. Full dates can be found here.

Hayden, The Grad Club, Kingston, 2 November 2007

1. In Field & Town
2. Home By Saturday
3. its been a while (talk)
4. Weight of the World
5. Hollywood Ending
6. picture me in front of a white grand piano (talk)
7. Damn This Feeling
8. the worst chord I could have played there (talk)
9. Wide Eyes
10. Bass Song
11. no stories after three years (talk)
12. Killbear
13. a really smart cat (talk)
14. Woody
15. maybe shaker buddy should start the clapping (talk)
16. Where and When
17. could every single one of you come to Guelph tomorrow night? (talk)
18. Stem
19. is the piano stuff ok? (talk)
20. More Than Alive
21. any security guards in the audience? (talk)
22. Lonely Security Guard
23. Howie (talk)
24. The Hazards Of Sitting Beneath Palm Trees
25. i think its fun (talk)
26. Carried Away
27. encore break (talk)
28. Dynamite Walls
29. Between Us To Hold
30. that would be helpful (talk)
31. Bad As They Seem

Get the new record on Tuesday – you won’t regret it. Want to win it? Pay I{Heart}Music a visit (contest closes soon so get there quick). If you preorder through iTunes befure the 15th (Canadians, only, methinks) you will get a bonus track.


Congratulations to Adam and Jeff, the winners of the Nicole Atkins contest. Thanks to all who entered.


  1. Rob said,

    Thanks so much for posting this show. I caught him on his little 3 city tour (in Guelph) – you did a great job recording. I mentioned in a post today – that this what a Hayden show feels like to me, loved that you captured his story about the farts. Priceless.

  2. Tom said,

    Thanks for this. Saw Hayden in Europe on this last tour…he blew the national off the stage.

  3. lizard said,

    BORING you suck

  4. rgsc said,

    ummm. i suck for sharing music that you happen not to like? ok lizard. thanks for sharing your well articulated opinion.

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