Friday, June 03, 2011

Hadden Sayers Earning That Hard Dollar

While described as a blues guitar blaster, Hadden Sayers is far more than that as exhibited on his new Blue Corn Music release Hard Dollar. He has seen times go from a hard touring musician to personal circumstances that led him to give up music for a period. But he is back and writing new tunes, part of the amazing Ruthie Foster’s band and this new release full of Texas Roadhouse rock with blues, country, swamp pop and Tex-Mex seasoning certainly should re-introduce him to the roots and blues music audiences.

Marking his Texas blues bar guitar with a gravelly, whisky drenched voice he kicks off the disc with his rocking celebration of his home state Take Me Back to Texas, before he follows with the blues-ballad All I Want is You, with a melody that evokes the swamp pop classic “Mathilda,” with some strong chicken scratching guitar that harkens back to Houston and early Gatemouth Brown. Ruthie Foster joins for a duet on Back to the Blues, which may not be a “blues’ song but a wonderful and soulful performance. “Inside Out Boogie” is a rocker inspired by lazy Lester’s Sugar Coated Love, with some rollicking piano by dave DeWitt before Sayers takes a hot rocking break.

Plenty of humor on this such as when Sayers talks about this woman that keeps him living in the Lap of Luxury, or his low-key Flat Black Automobile, whose trunk may not work and uses too much gas with some steel sounding guitar in the backing. His country-flavored celebration of Sweet Texas Girls, is another celebration of his home state. Crush on You is more hard-nosed roadhouse rock’n’roll while the Ain’t Comin’ Round No More, evokes Howlin’ Wolf’s Killing Floor mixed with Sitting on Top of the World, and Sayers noting he originally thought of this as an acoustic number before thinking of Hubert Sumlin. Like other of his songs, this shows his fresh use of older songs and the effective spare but strong ensemble sound heard here.

With some harp in the backing, Sayers has an unusual tribute to Lightnin’ Hopkins where he wants to take his lady on a groovy Hippie Getaway, while Burnin’ Up, is a chugging Texas shuffle blues with a heavy bass line and more harp as Sayers sings to his lady that everything he has she owns as he adds some blistering guitar making effect use of various effects during the break. Room 115, the longest performance here, is a slow blues written for Sean Costello as his on the edge guitar lyrics embellish the grainy vocal, and establish the low-down mood.

This disc closes with Moneyshot, a strong organ trio instrumental, that allows organist DeWitt and Sayers to both shine. Hard Dollar simply is a terrific release.

My review copy was provided by a publicist for the release. This is scheduled for official release on June 21.

Since posting this I have found out that Hadden will be appearing at Hill Country BBQ in Washington Dc on Tuesday, June 7 and Hill Country BBQ in NYC on June 8, in Buffalo at Sportsman's Tavern on Friday June 10 and at the Rohester International Jazz Festival on Saturday, June 11. His website is:

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