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Columbus, Ohio, United States

Columbus, Ohio, United States
Band Americana Folk


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"The album (melic) is brilliant, with God-Shaped Hole and Between The Lines as the most maddeningly catchy highlights. A ragged but righteous duet with Lucinda Williams on the gospel classic Precious Memories also comes highly recommended. Hayseed emerges as a wholly unusual singer and songwriter, presenting a collection of songs that are quirky, dark, and evocative of the old, weird South that gave us the Delta Blues and what used to be country music." - Spartanburg Herald-Journal Spartanburg, SC


"The big guy in the overalls may look like a hillbilly, but when he opens his mouth to sing, it's obvious this fellow is pretty hip to postmodern country music. His debut album is loaded with great tunes and guest spots by folks like Lucinda Williams and Joy Lynn White, but Hayseed can stand on his own and deliver the goods. His live performance is so casual that you almost feel like you're intruding on something very private, and when he does his acapella ballad, the hair will stand up on the back of your neck."
- Creative Loafing Magazine / Atlanta, GA


"Hayseed is a brilliant singer/songwriter from KY. There is a simplicity and beauty to his music. It is more like old-time than bluegrass or country - the songwriting is so soulful and poignant. He is a delightful human being and a writer whose work deserves an audience. I heartily recommend him." - Hittin' The Note Magazine (The Quarterly Allmanac for Allman Brothers Band Fans) / Macon, GA


"A mountain man who looks every bit the part of his stage name, he is, in fact, a deep thinker (evidenced by his debut cd's title which alludes to an ancient form of Greek lyric poetry). This depth shows in the lyrics to his original tunes."
- The Boston Herald / Boston, MA


Christopher Wyant is purposely trying to confound your expectations. Son of a Pentecostal preacher, Wyant dons overalls and wire-rimmed glasses and calls himself Hayseed. The musical foundations for his songs lean heavily on pure, unadulterated, acoustic, old-time music. Yet, upon closer inspection, you find that the Kentuckian with the potent pipes is influenced by Shelley as much as by Grandpa Jones. His reflections of modern life have a strong metaphysical bent, concentrating on notions that are more spiritual then religious, and more archetypical than specific. Even the instrumental interlude, called "Voices" oddly enough, treads a line between American old-time and European classical. Helped by a solid group of pickers and singers (including Lucinda Williams), Hayseed blazes a provactive trail." - Marc Greilsamer / Amazon.com


"Hayseed's MELIC... is a flat-out stunner; it's a lusty,loamy, hard-scrabble ramble filled with strong songs and raggedly exquisite picking, and it's expansive enough to cite the gospel tune 'Precious Memories' and the Allman Brothers' 'Melissa' both as roots music. You'll hear few better country-folk records this year OR next..." - Nashville Scene / Nashville, TN


"Hayseed's plaintive lyrics and country bumpkin image belie the singer-songwriter's moonshine kick. He's one of the few modern singer-songwriters who doesn't appear beholden to Bob Dylan. Hayseed's version of modern mountain music retains its rustic edge, but when his twangy baritone sings "the information age is upon us" on Between The Lines, you know he's not just another banjo-and-fiddle-yokel with a knack for phrasing... Hayseed does not veer from the path of righteousness for Triple A radio's sake, but took to heart the words of The Bible when it said to 'make a joyful noise.'" - Austin Chronicle / Austin, TX


"Hayseed is the real deal - a genuine purveyor of rural music and homespun wisdom. Of course, he's a rather erudite hick, taking his debut album's title from ancient Greek ('melic' means suitable for singing) and offering more than just yee-haw sentiments among the twangy fiddle, dobro, mandolin, and banjo... After taking you down back roads, passing around the jug of corn liquor and visiting that little clapboard church, Hayseed then sums it all up in the final song, CREDO (with Lucinda Williams), singing, "I don't want a wisdom that does not weep, I don't want a philosophy that does not laugh." Suffice to say that "melic" and Hayseed embody that credo." - Houston Chronicle / Houston, TX


"Few sing like Hayseed, with a rich voice seasoned in the church rafters of his native Kentucky... Despite not being able to play an instrument, he is a strikingly unique songwriter with tunes that smack of the burnished and archaic, even while wrestling with the anxiety of the computer age. His most recent album, In Other Words, also proved him to be a stirring interpreter of others' songs." - Metroland Magazine / Albany, NY


1988 - Melic
2002 - In Other Words...


NO DEPRESSION What It Sounds Like: Volume 1 (Dualtone Records) - "Farther Along" w/Emmylou Harris

HUAC Catamount Collective: Volume 1 (Catamount Records) - "Leaning Into Jesus" w/Callie Chappell

EDGES FROM THE POSTCARD: Volume 4 (Hayden's Ferry Records) - "Some Kind of Balance" w/Bonepony

EDGES FROM THE POSTCARD: Volume 3 (Hayden's Ferry Records) - "Cold Feet"

HIT THE HAY: Volume 6 (Sound Asleep Records) - "Precious Memories" w/Lucinda Williams

NASHVILLE: The Other Side of The Alley (Bloodshot Records) - "God-Shaped Hole"



Country Intuition And Contemporary Intellect Intersect In Hayseed's Music

by Jon Weisberger (written for No Depression magazine)

"Hayseed is, in my mind, on the same level as Bob Dylan and Neil Young and Van Morrison," says Lucinda Williams. "That's just what I think, that's my opinion, for what it's worth. I don't say that about everybody who comes down the pike, and you can ask anybody who knows me. Music has to grab me in a certain way, and the stuff that does that, it's a time-transcendent thing. I put Hayseed right in there with that batch of stuff."

Strong words, especially about a guy with just two albums to his credit. One might chalk Williams' testimonial up to the vagaries of individual taste, but her view is shared by a talented and influential circle of friends and supporters - folks for whom Hayseed has done nothing other than be what he is, yet who have provided him indispensable help in realizing his musical ideas and getting them out into the world. "You almost feel like that's what I'm supposed to do in life," Hayseed says, "because I bumped into these guys - there was no design to it, it's like a providential chain of events that have transpired over my life."

Hayseed is, of course, not his real name. Born Christopher Wyant in 1966, he grew up in Western Kentucky, where his father was a minister in the United Pentecostal Church International, a stern sect that traces its origins to a 1916 split in the Assemblies of God. "We were taught that we're separate, we're in the world but not of it," he says. "It was just a mindset that you grew up with. There's a whole hierarchy there, and of course with my dad being a minister, I represented my dad, I represented my church, I represented my denomination, and then I represented God. Most times I felt it was more of a blessing; you felt like it was a calling or something. But there were a whole lot of issues that I had to get out of the way in order to get a balance later in life about just who I am, rather than representing everything else before I ever got to represent who I am."

With little in the way of contemporary culture to influence him - secular entertainment was off-limits, and the family didn't even own a television - Hayseed grew up rooted in the music of the church. "It's an integral part of the service, so we grew up in churches where any instrument you played, bring it to church and wail away on it; you don't have to be good. And that's one of the things that made me who I am, because I didn't have anybody judging me. From the time I was a little kid, I was encouraged to sing at the top of my lungs, and as emotionally as I wanted to."

When he moved to Nashville in 1986, Hayseed didn't so much break with as slide away from the church, grappling with what he calls a "spiritual withdrawal and rebirth" even as he hung around the fringes of the gospel and contemporary Christian music scenes, finding work with gospel star Bobby Jones and, eventually, as a roadie with Christian-cum-alternative-rock band Chagall Guevara. He scored that gig through David Perkins, who Hayseed describes as a "brother and mentor." It was through Perkins that he met Richard Price, currently Lucinda Williams' bassist and partner, but at the time a guy with some time on his hands.

"I was kind of bored," Price recalls. "I didn't have that much to do around town, except freelance a little bit on the bass. I told Perkins one time I needed something to do. He said, 'Well, we got this big ol' boy with a big voice that's helping us with our equipment with Chagall Guevara that could probably use some help.'"

With Price's help, Hayseed (who plays no instruments) began to shape the songs he had been writing as a reflection of his spiritual crisis and his sense of being an outsider. A simple demo of his song "God-Shaped Hole" found its way to Bloodshot Records, and a re-recording of it appeared on the label's 1996 compilation disc Nashville: The Other Side Of The Alley. That version, in turn, anchored a six-song demo cassette called Homegrown. As Price says, "That got around. People started biting on it immediately."

Listening to the tracks from the cassette, it's not hard to see why. It's not easy to create a genuine synthesis of the modern with the traditional, yet that's precisely what Hayseed has done. The melodies of "Cold Feet", "God-Shaped Hole", "Between The Lines" and "Origin Of The Snake" are close kin to countless old-time tunes, and for the musicians playing them, they're an intimately familiar language. Yet the lyrics carry sharp contemporary accents, preoccupied with guilt, sin, salvation and eternity - even when, as on "Cold Feet", the dark verses contrast with a cheerfully rowdy chorus.

"He's very bright, and he's a brilliant lyricist," says Williams. "And you don't run across that very often. There just aren't that many great songwriters; you might as well be blunt about it. There's not that much interesting stuff lyrically, that