Friday, May 20, 2011
album review: Hadden Sayers, 'Hard Dollar'
Artist: Hadden Sayers
Title: Hard Dollar
In the words of uber-rock band manager Derek Sutton (Styx, Robin Trower), “98% of people listen to music with their eyes.” When it comes to music today and slotting a new release, the targeted audience demographic trumps the music in the grooves. So while this album by Hadden Sayers’ may not be strictly “blues,” albeit using blues textures and instrumentation, the album is marketed, in part, to the blues-roots audience and THAT makes it a ‘blues record.’ Now, don’t get me wrong, there are blues tracks including a strong contender for any legitimate ‘blues duet of the year’ list; however, Sayers uses the breadth of styles found in Texas to fully explore his muse. I suppose a proactive music fans knows that there are two kinds of music; good music and bad music. ‘Hard Dollar’ is good music.
It’s a considerable accolade when the daily newspaper of Texas’ live music hub, The Austin Statesman’ refers to Hadden Sayers’ as, “Houston’s best all-round guitarist.” But it wasn’t always that way. After a stretch of good records culminating is the superb, ‘Supersonic ,’ Sayers’ career nose-dived amid a move to Ohio, the death of a family member, record deals gone awry and a dearth in the music industry. However when noted blues artist and fellow Texan Ruthie Foster called looking for a guitarist, it was the spark that Sayers’ career needed. Since that call he has been building momentum.
Sayers’ latest album, ‘Hard Dollar’ opens with a travelogue track ala’ the standard, “Route 66” or the Rolling Stones “Rip This Joint.” While there is more than six months left in the year, Sayers’ duet with Ruthie Foster is a solid contender for any critics “Blues Duet of the Year” lists. This song is brilliant.
This is an album ripe with radio friendly blues tracks including, “Lap of Luxury” which is an excursion into minimalism. “All I Want is You” will ‘sell’ to a more traditional blues listenership. Sayers’ YouTube video of the album’s focus track, “Sweet Texas Girl” can be seen at; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIJNU_-VXmw . (It is so nice to see a video that features real women.) There is also a remake of the track, ‘Flat Black Automobile’ which debuted acoustically on the ‘Supersonic ‘album. “Ain’t Comin’ Round No More” has a Willie Dixon composition feel that will strike a chord between Chicago’s Chess Records and contemporary blues. This is a solid comeback album for one of the genre’s finest songwriters. This record will appeal to roots music fans and broadminded blues fans as well as trad-rock and Texas-Jimmie Vaughan fans.