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Hayes Carll

Little Rock – 2005 (Highway 87)

Reviewed by T.J. Simon

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CDs by Hayes Carll

Hayes Carll is an Arkansas native whose country-rock compositions recall the sounds of Steve Earle or Todd Snyder. His second album was produced by the legendary R.S. Field and features songs co-written by Guy Clark, John Evans and Ray Wylie Hubbard as well as several enjoyable original numbers from Carll's talented pen.

The album contains some amazing moments, particularly "Down The Road Tonight," a countrified modernization of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues." Moreover, "Wish I Hadn't Stayed So Long" is another roots rock masterpiece worthy of Steve Earle and The Dukes. He adeptly shifts gears to Steve Goodman-style folk on "Good Friends," while showcasing guest harmonies from Allison Moorer. Throughout "Little Rock," Carll is at his best with his jaunty, up-tempo, rock-influenced numbers. Unfortunately, things falter a bit when things slow down. John Evans' "Take Me Away" is one such dull moment, and the Clark co-write "Rivertown" never really takes off. Fortunately, it is followed by the title track, which rocks like Georgia Satellites in their prime.

Overall, Carll's superior lyrics and willingness to rock makes this disc a breath of fresh air warranting high regard in the world of country-infused rock and roll.