Corpus Christi Preview: Roll in the Hayes
Hayes Carll is easily misunderstood.
A singer-songwriter with an eye for wry observation and a gift for clever couplets, Carll's new album, "Trouble in Mind," is the first indication The Woodlands-bred songsmith has a knack for keeping people on their toes.
Consider the album's last track: "She Left For Me for Jesus." A satirical slice of gorgeous honky-tonk shuffle worthy of Gruene Hall, Carll's good-natured yarn about a clueless small-towner whose girlfriend has turned a new leaf has been known to rankle a few feathers.
"I've had a few people walk out," Carll said. "But the song is not about me wanting to beat up Jesus, or really anything negative about Jesus at all. It's about an ignorant, intolerant good ol' boy who thinks his girl is fooling around with Jesus. Like Ray Wylie Hubbard says, 'The problem with irony is that not everybody gets it.' "
No stranger to Corpus Christi, Carll returns to the Coastal Bend on Thursday for his first gig at the House of Rock. Edmonton's Corb Lund and The Hurtin' Albertans and local Americana quintet Hobo open.
"I think the first time I played Corpus was for Buccaneer Days in 2002," Carll said. "I remember John Evans, Sisters Morales and Davin James were all there, and we had a hell of an after party out in Port A."
Carll knows a thing or two about parties. The 30-something troubadour's current songbook reads like an index of a Charles Bukowski collection of short stories: "Drunken Poet's Dream," "Knockin' Over Whiskeys" and "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart."
Carll honed his chops, both musically and lyrically, haunting the beachfront dives of Crystal Beach near Galveston for four years.
"Well, when I moved back to Texas (after attending college in Arkansas), I was broke," he said. "I had the idea that I wanted to be a songwriter but I hadn't really proven it to myself that I could do it yet. So, rather than jump into the thick of it with everyone else, I thought I'd be better off easing my way in. I found a cheap beach to live on, a few bars to sing at, and started figuring out what I could do on my own."
It's all in a day's work for a workaday songwriter.
If you go:
Who: Hayes Carll, Corb Lund and The Hurtin Albertans, and Hobo.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: House of Rock, 511 Starr St.