Hayseed

Hayseed

 Columbus, Ohio, USA
BandAmericanaFolk

*Hayseed's music is a brilliant blend of Southern literary wit, style, and grace. - Lucinda Williams *Hayseed's music is roots music. Not from just one tree but a whole grove: bluegrass, old-time, country, gospel, folk, rock, soul..." - Miller Williams (Inaugural Poet)

Biography

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

Lyrics

Falls The Shadow

Written By: Hayseed


Between the thought and reality
Falls the shadow
Between the motion and the act
Falls the shadow
Life is long and where will I go?

Between conception and creation
Falls the shadow
Between emotion and response
Falls the shadow
Live is long and where will I go?

This is the way the world will end
This is the way the world will end
Not with a bang but with a whimper
This is the way the world will end

Between the power and the being
Falls the shadow
Between the essence and descent
Falls the shadow
Life is long and where will I go?

This is the way the world will end
This is the way the world will end
Not with a bang but with a whimper
This is the way the world will end

Credo

Written By: Hayseed

If I could crucify my flesh
I feel like I'd be better off about it
For a wise man will measure his wealth by what he does without

I don't want a wisdom that will not weep
I don't want a philosophy that does not laugh
Or a pride that never kneels in front of a child
I don't want a wisdom that will not weep
I don't want a philosophy that does not laugh
Or a pride that never kneels in front of a child

They say that if you learn to love yourself
You will learn to love the people
But I say if you love the people you will learn a lot about yourself

I don't want a wisdom that will not weep
I don't want a philosophy that does not laugh
Or a pride that never kneels in front of a child
I don't want a wisdom that will not weep
I don't want a philosophy that does not laugh
Or a pride that never kneels in front of a child

God-Shaped Hole

Written By: Hayseed

My fear and fascination, my sin and my salvation
Are tied together with a crimson strand that binds them to my soul
My hope, for Heaven's healing
My faith's beyond my feelings
I cast my lot, I put my trust in God
Now I've got to learn to let it go

I've got a God-shaped hole in my soul
That says, 'I don't need to know
When I was put together I was made to lose control
I've asked so many questions, it starts to take its toll
I've got a God-shaped hole in my soul
I've got a God-shaped hole

His death became my living, my need became His giving
He gave me soil and water for my seed that fell on stone
My joy came from His sorrow
His past gave me tomorrow
I gave my heart to Jesus and He took it to the Father's throne

I've got a God-shaped hole in my soul
That says, 'I don't need to know
When I was put together I was made to lose control
I've asked so many questions, it starts to take its toll
I've got a God-shaped hole in my soul
I've got a God-shaped hole

Discography

1988 - Melic
2002 - In Other Words...

Compilations:

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"

Set List

Usual titles include (but are not limited to):

* Cold Feet
* Wild Horses
* John Galt
* Do You Know Your Soul
* Sand & Foam
* Learn My Lesson
* Turnaround
* Consider This
* If I Needed You
* Guilty
* The Innocents
* Guilty
* The Difference
* Love Like Death

Set lengths depend on circumstance