Hayes Carll, Emily Gimble | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Hayes Carll

Hayes Carll

Hayes Carll, Emily Gimble 

When: Fri., June 17, 8 p.m. 2016
Price: $20
Hayes Carll still sounds very much like his irascible self on his first new album in five years, Lovers and Leavers (Thirty Tigers), where he embraces the ambivalent view of the record business shared by his Lone Star State predecessors Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle. Produced with stark directness by Joe Henry, the new record lacks not just an obvious radio single but Carll’s trademark character sketches and excursions into wry humor; here he favors introspection instead. Carll’s gone through some life-changing experiences of the usual sort, including a divorce, and it’s refocused what he finds important. On Lovers and Leavers he celebrates the reliability of his friends while embracing the fleeting quality of romance on “Good While It Lasted,” drily singing, “It was good while it lasted / But it didn’t last too long.” Carll trusts in his voice’s parched twang, which is usually accompanied by little more than the spare percussion of Jay Bellerose, the lean bass of David Piltch, and his own scratchy acoustic guitar (though the roller-skating-rink organ Tyler Chester plays on “Sake of a Song” adds the perfect hint of atmosphere). If the new album is any indication of where Carll intends to push his music, he’s headed in the right direction.
— Peter Margasak
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