Venue: Lincoln Hall
City: Chicago, IL
Date: March 30th 2019
What It Is
Bless me audiophiles for I have sinned. It has been 20 days since my last concert confession.
There’s a stigma with country music for those of us who associate with a liberal and feminist point of view. And rightfully so when it has a history that’s pockmarked with racism, homophobia, misogyny and xenophobia. It’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate that people associate that perspective with our country, every artist from the south who sounds remotely ‘country’ and anyone who listens to it. Racist/misogynist/homophobe by association.
And then a ‘country’ artist makes their way into your life who is none of those things. In fact, they’re more feminist, tolerant and empathetic than most of the artists you listen to. In the way they live and the way they write.
Hayes Carll was that for me when I started listening to him seven years ago. Although now I understand the nuance of his music and writing categorize him more as Americana...which let’s be absolutely honest...is just country music for liberals. His sharp wit, rarefied energy, brutal honesty and unflinching vulnerability are why I’ve continued to listen this long.
Last week I finally got to see him play live at Lincoln Hall. It wasn’t really yours typical country audience although I did notice a couple of good ol’ boys who I’m guessing drove in from Trump country and didn’t take the time to fully digest Hayes’s lyrics.
I fortunately got situated a few rows back from the stage next to another dork who also new and sang every word to Hayes’s satirical military service romp “KMAG YOYO”.
He seemed to wear his scars on his sleeve when bantering with the crowd. He was very candid about his divorce and also the happiness, support and inspiration his new partner and co-writer/producer Allison Moorer has brought him.
I got to hear him perform “Fragile Men” and follow it up with a 5 minute verbal pig-sticking of Alex Jones. Joy, happiness and schadenfreude. He delivered on everything I hoped he would and I look forward to seeing and listening to him evolve
as his life does. I hope his career and the people who surround him continue to bring him joy, inspiration and more razor wire sharp comedic moments to write about. Yippie-aye-ki-yay, y’all.