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CD Review: Hayden

In Field & Town

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The Deal: Under-rated Canadian reaps his Harvest.

The Good: First things first: The oddity of Canadian mope artist Hayden releasing a record for the dirty blues label Fat Possum gets less weird upon closer inspection. After all, wintry piano elegies and lonesome Neil Young twang is just Great White (boy) North blues; that it sounds nothing like R.L. Burnside or Junior Kimbrough is at least proof of its regional honesty. And when Hayden's sad-man narratives and the music's rustic patina mesh into something resembling a double negative, the music positively soars. This being Hayden, you're going for a wallow in the weltschmerz, be it in personal confessionals like the so-long-lover, piano-and-voice lament "The Hardest Part" or the twangy pedal steel weeper "Barely Friends." But elsewhere, Hayden sounds practically giddy, if the loping piano of "More Than Alive," the bouncing beats of "Where and When" or the swinging 'Nawlins horns of "The Van Song" are any indication. Comparisons with fellow Canuck Young accompany every Hayden release because of their vocal similarities, so why not go for broke as Hayden does on "Did I Wake Up Beside You?" In fact, the record sounds like this is Hayden's Harvest, a gorgeous, melancholic and personal mix of (mostly) acoustic music with a couple of rockers and up-tempo cuts thrown in for contrast.

The Bad: Not yet.

The Verdict: Get it.

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