Twenty years old may sound young to many of you, but newcomer Hunter Hayes is talented far beyond his years. The singer-songwriter just released his self-titled major label debut with Atlantic Records on October 11. The record contains 12 solid songs, all of which he had a hand in writing. To say this kid is talented is an understatement. His lyrics are intricate and intelligent, and there is nothing remotely cheesy about him. Plus, he plays just about every instrument known to man: guitar, piano, drums, bass, mandolin, accordian...he probably plays a mean tambourine, too.
The Louisiana-born Hayes shines like a seasoned pro with "Everybody's Got Somebody But Me" and "More Than I Should," both of which are probably the most country sounding songs on the record. Although, I'm sure most of you know him for his first hit at radio, "Storm Warning," which has now cracked the top 25 on the Billboard hot country chart. When I heard this song for the first time, his vocal similarity to Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox blew my mind. I really thought that maybe this was a Rascal Flatts song. But, although their vocal stylings are reminiscent of one another (particularly the falsetto he hits on "If You Told Me To" and "Rainy Season"), Hayes is no copy-cat. He still manages to have a sound all his own.
One of my favorite songs is "Faith to Fall Back On." It's beautifully written and has a great message: when everything seems out of control, you have to have faith to fall back on. And as if his charming good looks and musical talent weren't enough, he's going to have the teenage girls swooning with "Wanted" and "Cry With You." I'll be honest: if I were 15, I would have his poster on my wall and be dreaming of the day I got to meet him. He's that good.
If this record is any indication of what's to come from Hayes, we're all in for a treat. Do yourself a favor and check him out. We have to support the new generation of country music and keep this tradition going. To learn more about Hunter, check him out online.
Tell me this hasn't happened to you: I'm shopping at the local megaplex, and a song comes on the overhead radio / PA system for shoppers. After a few lines, I'm drawn into the lyrics, but I can't place the singer. Quickly, I pull out my phone and scribble a note, transcribing what I can decipher from my learned ears so that when I get home and near a PC, I can go online and find out who this guy is, when his album streeted, and what I've been missing. … more