Hunter Hayes (August 17, 2017)

With Levi Hummon


Hunter Hayes Get Tickets


Show:8:00 PM
Doors:6:00 PM
Age:All Ages
General Admission Show
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For Hunter Hayes, complacency is the enemy. After being nominated for a handful ofGRAMMY Awards, snagging a collection of CMA’s and touring the world behind a pairof critically-acclaimed albums, it would be far too easy for the revered singer-songwriterand top-notch musician to rest on his laurels. But Hayes wants more. “I had to get in themindset of ‘I’m starting over,’” the 25-year-old says boldly of a rigorous two-yearprocess during which he wrote more than 100 songs; made a Nashville studio hispersonal playground and, most important for his development as a category-defying artistand musical innovator, flipped convention on its head. “I’m starting from scratch,” Hayesdeclares with equal parts excitement and nervous anticipation of the mindset behindcooking up some of the most bold, hook-heavy material of his career with a heavieremphasis on band-based arrangements and live drums. “It’s about who I am and whereI’m going.” The initial returns on Hayes’ focused pursuit of the bold and new are a trio of songsreleased direct to fans via his social media: “Yesterday’s Song,” “Amen,” and “YoungBlood.” “It was so good for my soul,” the singer says of the no-holds-barred, looseatmosphere of writing, recording and cutting the new tracks with his trusted band. “It wasall heart and soul and laying it all out on the table.” Written with Barry Dean and MartinJohnson and produced with Dann Huff, “Yesterday’s Song” is a sonically boisterousstunner; a rollicking, breakneck rock jam that, at its lyrical core, is a no-nonsense breakupsong -- a kiss-off, Hayes says, that doubles as “a joyous celebration” of moving on andnever looking back. “It’s like ‘I’m gone and going so fast you’ll never catch me!’” hesays of the song’s flavor, adding that breakup songs like it, off  “life-changing” albumslike Rascal Flatts’ Me and My Gang, Adele’s 21 or John Mayer’s Continuum, have longbeen essential to his life. “Amen” and “Young Blood” also mark exciting new territory for the singer. The formerfinds 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 findsomeone that completes your image of your future,” he says of “Amen. “It was verypersonal for me,” he adds of a song he and his band road-tested this summer to rapturousreception. “It was a lesson in conviction and knowing how I felt about the song and howimportant it was to me to have it on the record.” “Young Blood” might very well beHayes’ most full-throttle guitar assault yet, not to mention his most lyrically mature. Thesong, written with Solomon and Lauren Olds, details what Hayes calls the spark andfirework of a new exciting relationship” and finds Hayes embracing his reckless side. “Itwas a different thing for me to write about,” he says with laugh. “Letting your guarddown for the first time when you’re so comfortable around somebody. There’s no way Iwould have written about that even a year ago.” The song was also entirely self-producedby 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 thecanvas musically, and he cleans up the mess. This time I couldn’t second-guess myself. Itmade 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 and2014’s Storyline were cut in relatively rapid succession, Hayes had the freedom this go-round to explore every musical avenue of his intrigue. Initially moving out to the countryand living at his friend’s house, he dove headfirst into the writing process. “I wanted thespace, freedom and the time to make this new music,” he says. Soon after, he returned toNashville and transformed a backyard studio into a funhouse laboratory of his owndesign: he set up instrumental stations he could hop back and forth between wheneverinspiration struck. “I felt like a kid that had just been let into a giant toy store,” he says ofa process he likens to assembling his earliest demos. “Every morning I walked in, flippedtwo 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 isessential for any top-notch artist. “I had to trust the people around me to tell me thetruth,” he explains of the oft-brutal process of narrowing down his new songs to the mostessential fare. “You can think your way through a lot of things,” Hayes concludes of hisrecent creative outburst that’s just beginning to reveal itself, “but the stuff that reallycomes from the heart is what’s distinct.”


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