Carll: A Hero In Texas
In today's fast-paced, super-connected wired world, the idea of regional scenes seems almost quaint, like rotary phones and 8-tracks.
But, man, Hayes Carll sounds like Texas in the best way possible - his wit as pointed as a true cowboy's boots, his drawl as cool as an iced Shiner Bock and tales as tall as Interstate 10 is long. And as Texas singer-songwriters from Townes Van Zandt to Lyle Lovett have before him, Carll knows how to turn a phrase. ("Well I'm wild as a turkey, higher than a Christmas moon, empty as my wallet on a Sunday afternoon," he sings in "Wild as a Turkey.")
Yes, Carll's new album "Trouble in Mind" (Lost Highway) is country, but it's Texas-styled country, filled with larger-than-life characters who drink a lot and fall in and out of love even more.
There's the innocent "Girl Downtown" and the not-so-innocent "Knockin' Over Whiskeys." And Carll even tries his hand at satire with "She Left Me for Jesus," a song about a guy who gets jealous of his girlfriend talking about some guy named Jesus all the time and wanting to get even with him. "She says that he's perfect, how could I compare?" Carll sings. "She says I should find him and know peace at last."
It's a tribute to his songwriting's strength that when he covers Tom Waits' "I Don't Wanna Grow Up," it sounds perfectly suited to its surroundings.
Carll may not be a Mariah Carey-sized star any time soon, but his major-label debut is certainly going to make him the toast of certain circles. And he's going to become a hero in Texas.