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Sesctionlive and B93 presents |ON SALE 2/10 AT 10AM!

Hunter Hayes

Apr 20

7:00 pm

$30 ADV / $35 DOS

All Ages | Doors 7pm

RSVP on Facebook

For Hunter Hayes, complacency is the enemy. After being nominated for a handful of
GRAMMY Awards, snagging a collection of CMA’s and touring the world behind a pair
of critically-acclaimed albums, it would be far too easy for the revered singer-songwriter
and top-notch musician to rest on his laurels. But Hayes wants more. “I had to get in the
mindset of ‘I’m starting over,’” the 25-year-old says boldly of a rigorous two-year
process during which he wrote more than 100 songs; made a Nashville studio his
personal playground and, most important for his development as a category-defying artist
and musical innovator, flipped convention on its head. “I’m starting from scratch,” Hayes
declares with equal parts excitement and nervous anticipation of the mindset behind
cooking up some of the most bold, hook-heavy material of his career with a heavier
emphasis on band-based arrangements and live drums. “It’s about who I am and where
I’m going.”
The initial returns on Hayes’ focused pursuit of the bold and new are a trio of songs
released direct to fans via his social media: “Yesterday’s Song,” “Amen,” and “Young
Blood.” “It was so good for my soul,” the singer says of the no-holds-barred, loose
atmosphere of writing, recording and cutting the new tracks with his trusted band. “It was
all heart and soul and laying it all out on the table.” Written with Barry Dean and Martin
Johnson and produced with Dann Huff, “Yesterday’s Song” is a sonically boisterous
stunner; a rollicking, breakneck rock jam that, at its lyrical core, is a no-nonsense breakup
song — a kiss-off, Hayes says, that doubles as “a joyous celebration” of moving on and
never looking back. “It’s like ‘I’m gone and going so fast you’ll never catch me!’” he
says of the song’s flavor, adding that breakup songs like it, off “life-changing” albums
like Rascal Flatts’ Me and My Gang, Adele’s 21 or John Mayer’s Continuum, have long
been essential to his life.
“Amen” and “Young Blood” also mark exciting new territory for the singer. The former
finds Hayes embracing his spiritual side without neglecting his big-throated pop melody,
and is what the singer describes as “a lonely man’s prayer.” “It’s hoping you’ll find
someone that completes your image of your future,” he says of “Amen.” “It was very
personal for me,” he adds of a song he and his band road-tested this summer to rapturous
reception. “It was a lesson in conviction and knowing how I felt about the song and how
important it was to me to have it on the record.” “Young Blood” might very well be
Hayes’ most full-throttle guitar assault yet, not to mention his most lyrically mature. The
song, written with Solomon and Lauren Olds, details what Hayes calls “the spark and
firework of a new exciting relationship” and finds Hayes embracing his reckless side. “It
was a different thing for me to write about,” he says with laugh. “Letting your guard
down for the first time when you’re so comfortable around somebody. There’s no way I
would have written about that even a year ago.” The song was also entirely self-produced
by the musician: “That was nerve-racking and scary,” he admits. “I’m so used to having
Dann Huff in the room; I go off on my musical tangents, and I splatter paint all over the
canvas musically, and he cleans up the mess. This time I couldn’t second-guess myself. It
made me pay attention to the only things that mattered: ‘Does this feel good? Yes.
Done.’”
Whereas previous albums like his Double Platinum-certified, self-titled 2011 debut and
2014’s Storyline were cut in relatively rapid succession, Hayes had the freedom this goround
to explore every musical avenue of his intrigue. Initially moving out to the country
and living at his friend’s house, he dove headfirst into the writing process. “I wanted the
space, freedom and the time to make this new music,” he says. Soon after, he returned to
Nashville and transformed a backyard studio into a funhouse laboratory of his own
design: he set up instrumental stations he could hop back and forth between whenever
inspiration struck. “I felt like a kid that had just been let into a giant toy store,” he says of
a process he likens to assembling his earliest demos. “Every morning I walked in, flipped
two switches, hit record and played. I knew there was nothing in my way.”
Hayes recognizes such increased hands-on creativity and a newfound wizened humility is
essential for any top-notch artist. “I had to trust the people around me to tell me the
truth,” he explains of the oft-brutal process of narrowing down his new songs to the most
essential fare. “You can think your way through a lot of things,” Hayes concludes of his
recent creative outburst that’s just beginning to reveal itself, “but the stuff that really
comes from the heart is what’s distinct.”

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