Hayes Carll - Kmag Yoyo (and Other American Stories)
For his fourth record, KMAG YOYO (And Other American Stories), it’s business as usual for Texas native Hayes Carll. Highly regarded for his blend of country, rock and blues, Carll continues to impress and build on his reputation as a top tier singer/songwriter. Following closely in the foot steps of previous releases Trouble in Mind and Little Rock, KMAG YOYO combines upbeat rocking numbers with ballads and intelligent, at times political, lyrics with no shortage of tongue-in-cheek fun.
Carll starts off strong, first with the rocking ‘Stomp and Holler’ and then shifting gears into country for the fun and uplifting ‘Hard Out Here,’ where Carll jokes, “My mama told me I should have gone into easy listening / joined up with a band ‘cause I thought it was cool / I probably should have just gone back to school.” Later on though, he shifts to his more serious side with the Iraq war based title track, ‘KMAG YOYO.’ The Dylan-esque track tells the tale of a young man sent to war – “I laid down in a space ship / Woke up in a fire-fight / Trippin’ from the morphine / Came down in a bad scene / God, don’t let me die here / I ain’t even nineteen.” On the softer side of things, ballad ‘Chances Are’ stands out, as does ‘Grateful for Christmas,’ where Carll recounts tales of Christmas’ past.
Fast, slow, touching or political, as good as they all are, and as has been the case on his previous records (most notably with Trouble in Mind’s hilarious closer ‘She Left Me For Jesus’), it’s the fun side of Hayes Carll that leaves the lasting impression. On this record, it’s ‘Another Like You’ that best exemplifies this. Joined by Cary Ann Hearst, the back and forth conversation between politically star crossed one-night lovers leaves you smiling from start to finish.
Hayes Carll’s ability to weave a record together will a diversity of musical styles and lyrical focuses highlights why he has become such a well respected songwriter and musician. KMAG YOYO, like its predecessors, is great from start to finish and another success for a new generation of Texas greats.
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