Hayden | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Fri., May 8, 7 p.m. 2015
Price: $20, $15 in advance
Paul Hayden Dresser is not a terribly savvy self-promoter. In the mid-90s he gained attention after being tapped to write the title track for Steve Buscemi’s directorial debut, Trees Lounge. But in the wake of the film the Toronto-based singer-songwriter famously walked away from a major-label deal in favor of self-releasing a string of solid low-fi indie-folk records on the down low. And about two years ago, an entry on his Wikipedia page stating that he was dead went unnoticed by the musician and his peeps for months. Still, somehow it all works for him. His new record Hey Love (Arts & Crafts) gives a glimpse into Hayden’s charmingly downtrodden bubble, in which anxieties about fatherhood and an “us versus the world” romantic view steer minimal compositions of acoustic guitar and harmonica, complemented by a simple, warm drum tone that’s been a sonic through line since his 1995 debut, Everything I Long For. On Hey Love he adds backing vocals, synthesizers, and piano for a richer, more mature sound. The obsessive home-studio tinkerer isn’t mentioned alongside Matthew E. White, Tobias Jesso Jr., or any other of the recent glut of singer-songwriters who bow at the production altar of Harry Nilsson. But that’s just more evidence that he’s indifferent about the world around him. Hey Love is the cult folk artist’s best record in nearly a decade, though, and certainly his most accessible, and it should cement him in the vanguard of lauded contemporary songwriters. Despite his resistance to buzz, Hayden is very much alive. —Erin Osmon
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