John Haydon
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John Haydon

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"Review of She's Gone CD"

"Buddy Holly-meets-Hank Williams heartbreak tempered by a Rhett Miller new-world perspective..." - Boston Globe

"Review of She's Gone CD"

"...for the No Depression set; old school all the way, its aching lyrics and longing harmonies are proof that the heart of alternative country is still beating. The songs are a study of the similarities between Hank Williams and AC/DC." -

"Review of She's Gone CD"

" between a Johnny Cash or Tom Petty disc and you'd never guess these boys are yanks from Boston." -

"Review of She's Gone CD"

"This is an incredibly good, country-folk album. While Haydon's voice would fit perfectly in any folk festival, it is also accessible to a roots-rock crowd. And while the songs average more than 4 minutes, they pass fleetingly. Ah versatility. Definitely 'A' material!" - Shredding Paper

"Review of She's Gone CD"

"John Haydon is a bit of a throwback to the mid-80s back-to-the-basics singer/songwriter--think Darden Smith. Nice guitar interplay, dollops of pedal steel, and straight-shooting, earnest pop melodies flesh out lots of songs dealing with romantic loss and longing." - Pop Culture Press

"Overtones of the Everly Brothers on a bitter-sweet breakup album"

You could easily describe singer-songwriter John Haydon's brand of folk/singer-songwriter rock as 'no frills', on first listen. But that's not exactly true - the songs are simple, and shorn of fancy production (something which in itself is excellent production, done, as it is here, properly) but there are plenty of moments when something a little extra is added to the song to lift it out of the ordinary.

One of those moments is on Blue Van, a lilting melancholy song about distance, both geographical and metaphorical between two lovers. The refrain that holds the song together is the lyric 'I still want to hold you' - a simple line and sentiment, but Haydon injects an extra syllable into the 'hold' drawing the line out alongside a well placed pedal-steel guitar, accentuating the loneliness and melancholy in a croon (used in the best sense of the word) that brings to mind Chris Isaak and other masters of understatement. It's a short, simple, and achingly beautiful song - despite it's criminal ryhmes ('Van' and 'Man' in the first two lines had this reviewer hovering itchily over the next»» button).

Haydon, from Waltham Massachusetts has been playing the local scene for over thirteen years, with phantom heart being his fifth album released. Impressive and soulful, it immediately catches attention and sets out its stall as redemptive music (there's a cover of Daniel Johnson's Good Morning You - to give you an idea of where we're coming from here).

The story behind the album is a common one - a marriage falls apart, and one way to deal with the loneliness, fear and opportunity is through songwriting. I have a bin specifically set up for these type of records, as they're usually full of whingeing, self-important, shite tunes sung by someone convinced that he's Leonard Cohen, when he really sounds more like a tuneless drone hogging a karaoke microphone. Not Haydon, though, who sidesteps the pitfalls of navel-gazing armed with a sweet voice and an ear for a good tune.

He started writing the album, in fact, when he hooked up (in more ways than one) with another local singer-songwriter to form an Everyly Brothers style band - and this, perhaps more than any other reference, offers the key to his music. It's simple, solid, sweet and yet at the same time offers depth, and a blue streak to its pop. - Three Monkeys Reviews

"John Haydon Radio Show"

"From the hypnotic and soulful 'Blue Van' to the pensive, close-to-the-bone 'Peel Away', Haydon does offer up a little slab of his soul with each song." - Provincetown Banner - Sue Harrison

"John Haydon turns pain into a new album"

BOSTON - The new album from local musician John Haydon is more than a collection of raw and honest songs about lost love and navigating life. It’s also proof that music has the power to pull someone out of the depths of depression and pain.

Two years ago, Haydon separated from his wife and moved out of his house. Alone in an apartment, he felt “homeless” without his family.
Haydon’s outlook on life changed when he met a woman named Margaret and they initially hatched the idea to form a band and do Everly Brother tunes.

Instead of that, Haydon and Margaret developed a relationship and that experience became the catalyst for the bulk of the songs on “Phantom Heart,” an album filled with songs about the pitfalls of relationships, the confusion of love, and the complexity of being human.

In the first song, “Blue Van,” Haydon sings, “If you never wanted to build a home with me/ It’s OK it was only my dream,” it’s easy to assume that he’s a morose kind of guy.

“Margaret and I did have a breakup during this,” admits Haydon. “But it worked out and, basically, I’m doing great. Music, especially on this album, has helped me.”

Haydon officially releases the album during a performance at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge on April 26.

It’s the fifth album for the Waltham resident and, despite what some may think, it wasn’t a hard album to write.
“It was probably one of the easiest because I was forced into a situation that brought out so much emotion and soul searching,” explains Haydon. “There was limitless material to work with.”

In fact, the hard part came with performing the songs, especially when they were first written. Haydon says that the material was so close to him and raw that there were times when he would just start crying.
But “no one wants to see a guy on stage ball his eyes out,” laughs Haydon.

He’s past that point now and says the emotion of the songs have faded into the background. Which isn’t to say that the songs don’t mean anything to Haydon anymore. He’s actually discovering new things within his songs that weren’t obvious when he was writing them.

“When I write songs, it’s from the subconscious,” explains Haydon. “Most of the time, I’m not sure what the songs mean till later. There’s a line in one of my songs about the stars in the sky, hanging in the sky and I wonder if they are ever afraid to fall. Last week I realized that I wanted to hang on to Margaret at the time.”

The title of the album, “Phantom Heart,” also garnered more meaning to Haydon in the aftermath. Initially, he picked it because it sounded cool and he liked the phantom limb aspect.

“Now the whole thing with ‘Phantom Heart’ is the idea that someone else will make you happy,” says Haydon. “And that isn’t true. You have to work through your own stuff. You have to be happy.”

During Haydon’s lonely moments after the separation, he worked through his emotions with the help of Daniel Johnston, a songwriter who suffers from bipolar disorder.
“He’s the perfect example of someone who takes his suffering and transformed it into some of the most beautiful songs ever written,” says Haydon. “Would he be able to do that if he didn’t suffer?”
Haydon covers Johnston’s “Good Morning You,” a fitting tribute for someone making music for the lonely and broken-hearted.

“I just want people to get something from my music, on a personal level,” he says. “I think it would be great if someone told me that a tune I wrote helped them get through something.” - Watertown Tab - Eddie Shoebang


Five Dollar Milkshake - Apartinthemiddle - 1998
John Haydon - Resolve - 1999
John Haydon - This Time - 2001
Timbre Project - 2001
John haydon - She's Gone - 2003
Hayseed Prophets - Future Looks Bright - 2003
John Haydon - Phantom Heart - 2008



John Haydon's 5th and most recent release "Phantom Heart" is an achingly beautiful and haunting exploration of the dark, hidden realms of the heart and the happiness found in love. The listener can't help but feel that Haydon has transformed a very personal dark night of the soul into a bitter-sweet collection of songs that shine with ageless beauty. Fans will be interested to know that two thirds of the songs were written as "hidden-message love letters" during the formation of a band with another songwriter that he fell in love with (a short documentary about the album called "Song Stories" will be available at The songs resonate with poetic sensibility and naked honesty conjuring up the ghosts of Leonard Cohen, Neil young and John Lennon.

For the past 13 years, Haydon has been developing an honest and direct, yet refined songwriting voice. Each song is a balancing see-saw with loneliness and despair on one end and hope and determination on the other end. His previous record "She's Gone" (on iTunes) was released in 2002 and received rave reviews in major music publications in the Northeast.

His musical styles have gone from Pop Rock to Alt-County to Singer/Songwriter to Minimalist Folk reflecting influences that include Badly Drawn Boy, Neil Young, Galaxy 500, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash. However, the essential constant thread in his music is what one fan calls "courageous vulnerability". John adds, "Artists like Leonard Cohen, Gram Parsons and Neil Young have always been mentors to me in how they put honesty before anything else in their music. If I can get one thing right, it would be being honest and naked in my music".

No effort was spared making this record. John hand-picked Boston's best including Russell Chudnofsy (Lori McKenna), Mike Piehl (Chris Smither), Steve Chaggaris (Ken Clark Organ Trio /The Soul Band) and Margaret Garrett (Mr. Airplane Man). All the songs were recorded at Moontower Studio, Woolly Mammoth Studio and his home studio in Massachusetts. The masterful Pete Weiss (Bow Thayer, Ramona Silver, Lucky 57) mixed everything at Verdant Studio. Finally, Jeff Lipton (Magnetic Fields, Big Star, Jess Klein, Sebadoh) at Peerless mastered the disc.


On 4/23/2008, The Watertown Tab published the following article: