Robert Hazard

Robert Hazard

BandAmericanaFolk

Rykodisc recording artist Robert Hazard cemented his songwriting craftsmanship worldwide when he penned the eternal pop anthem, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” In an audacious return to his Americana roots, Robert has unleashed the storyteller inside with haunting, intimate and revealing new songs.

Biography

Robert Hazard
Troubadour

“Hazard’s new music establishes him as a poetic, sometimes autobiographical songwriter and a soulful singer. His music still rocks at times, but his blues and country influences are more obvious.” – Newark Star-Ledger

The dark Americana vibe of Robert Hazard’s Troubadour may come as a surprise to those who know him as the hit songwriter of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” (which, by the way, was written in fifteen minutes, in a bathtub - on an acoustic guitar,) but those who value first-rate musicianship, insightful songwriting and straight-from-the-heart singing will greet the album like an old friend.

The Philadelphia-born Hazard’s love and knowledge of folk, blues and other American roots styles shines through on his Rykodisc debut, an album that breathes the life of a man who has lived; filled with rich characters and poetic storytelling, inspired by the rustic beauty of his adopted home in the Adirondack Mountains.

The album features drummer Steve Holley (McCartney’s Wings, Joe Cocker, Dar Williams, Elton John) and multi-instrumentalist T-Bone Wolk (Carly Simon, SNL Band, Hall & Oates). Hazard enlisted the team of Pete Heitzman & Karen Savoca (Greg Brown) to helm the production efforts that give the album a classic folk sound with an urgent presence.

“Nobody But the Night” resonates with chiming electric guitar, a driving rhythm and Hazard’s emotional vocal, finely balanced between anguish and hope. “It’s about being alone and knowing you’ve got to be yourself, no matter what,” Hazard says. “Everybody’s been in that place at least once in their life.”

The Cajun stomp of “A Whole Lot of Water” is the tale of an island boy who moves to the big city. T-Bone Wolk contributes Celtic accordion fills giving the song an international flavor. “Blood On My Hands,” one of the album’s most dramatic tracks, is built around Hazard’s larger-than-life acoustic guitar. It’s the song a condemned murderer sings on the night before he dies, trying to come to terms with what he’s done. Hazard sings with a weary resignation that captures the apprehension of the condemned man. “Troubadour” is a tribute to the singers who inspired Hazard’s musical journey. The song salutes Eric Andersen, whom Hazard considers the ultimate troubadour -- and Andersen surfaces here to contribute harmony vocals and harmonica fills. “Somebody Else’s Dream” is an upbeat blues sprinkled with surreal images of a world gone mad.

Two love songs, “I Still Believe In You” and “To Be With You,” give the album its heart. The former is a slow, sexy tango, a celebration of the ups and downs of a long-term relationship, while the latter blazes with the heat of first love.

Hazard recalls, “My older sister Gloria turned me on to Elvis, Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins and other hillbilly cats. The music just knocked me out. At 10, I was playing guitar ‘cause I thought it was cool, but I got sidetracked by writing songs.”

“Rockabilly led me to folk, blues and what we call roots music today. I was playing in coffee houses and writing songs in high school, hanging out in folk clubs and soaking up gigs by Jimmy Webb, Eric Andersen and Jackson Browne. (The fact that Eric Andersen played on the title track is a real thrill.) A guy named Jerry Ricks gave me guitar lessons and taught me about the delta blues and Robert Johnson.”

Back when the new wave era hit, Hazard formed Robert Hazard and The Heroes. Having gained a huge following in his hometown of Philadelphia, RCA reissued their self-released EP resulting in MTV hits and tours opening for heavyweights U2 and Bob Dylan.

“The royalties from ‘Girls’ allowed me to survive. In the ‘90s I had a band called The Hombres, but we never recorded.” In 1998 Hazard cut Howl, the project that began to tap into his singer/songwriter soul. He started writing with a newfound conviction and the stories began to just pour out. “I woke up and started writing, going back to the folk and blues that originally inspired me. I decided to go back to what I love to do: me with an acoustic guitar.” In 2004 Hazard hooked up with T-Bone Wolk for his first singer/songwriter album, The Seventh Lake. Later in 2004 he cut Blue Mountain. “I made that for about $1.98,” Hazard jokes. “Everything was one take. The songs were written, I laid ‘em down and it was done.”

With Troubadour, Robert Hazard’s adventurous musical journey comes full circle --back to his original inspirations. “Songwriting is an emotional process. Getting to the place where the words and music came pouring out honestly is what I call success.”

Lyrics

I Still Believe in You

Written By: Robert Hazard

I believe in foolish hearts, I believe in flames
I believe in rainy days and midnight trains
I believe in mirrors, I believe in smoke
I believe in lucky breaks and I believe in broke
I believe in every chance I ever blew
Yeah babe I still believe in you

I believed in beauty I believed in truth
I believed in happiness I believed in youth
I believed in kisses I believed in eyes
I believed in promises I believed in lies
I believed in anything you asked me to
Yeah babe I still believe in you

All your twisted pictures
All your lamest rhymes
Hook, line, and sinker I bought them every time
All your back door entrances
And all your sad street scenes
I loved you from your dirty mouth
Down to your dirty jeans
And not one damn word you ever said was true
But yeah babe I still believe in you

You believe in gypsies
You believe in roads
You believe in lipstick stains
And secret codes
You believe in freedom
You believe in songs
You believe in leaving
You believe in gone
Even after everything you put me through
Yeah babe I still believe in you

Somebody Else's Dream

Written By: Robert Hazard

Two cigarettes in the ashtray
Big pile of clothes on the floor
I knew I smelled something funny
When I walked in the door
A naked man in the closet
My baby under the sheets
She said oh darlin’ you got home early
Well there’s someone that I want you to meet
This ain’t my dream
Must be somebody else’s dream

I took a ride in the country
No country did I see
Houses, traffic, and strip malls
Where the country used to be
There ain’t a fish in the river
There ain’t a bird in the sky
Some people say we should pull the plug
And just let the old girl die
This ain’t my dream
Must be somebody else’s dream

Wake me up in the morning
Tell me everything is alright
If things don’t get better soon
It’s gonna be a long night

Old folks livin’ on welfare
Can’t even pay the rent
All their hard earned social security
Pissed away and spent
All their sons and their daughters
Off to war they went
That shifty-eyed side winder
Got elected president
This ain’t my dream
Must be somebody else’s dream

Preacher shoutin’ and cryin’
All over my T.V
Takin’ money from poor poor people
In pain and misery
They’re buildin’ virtual churches
On fake morality
I asked God was this what he wanted
And God said back to me
This ain’t my dream
Must be somebody else’s dream

Blood on My Hands

Written By: Robert Hazard

I was riding on the open plain
Beneath the darkening sky
For my freedom and the border
And my true love I did ride
Some people say a secret ain’t no different
Than a lie
And I’m as guilty as any other man
Goin’ down to the river
With blood on my hands

I man I killed he wears my face
And travels by my name
He’s with me on the crowded streets
Beside me on the train
I feel his hand upon my wrist as
Cold as iron chain
As he leads me through the gates
Of no mans land
Down to the river with blood on my hands

The politics of right and wrong
I never understood
So many a man of rightousness
Been nailed up on the wood
So many a man of evil
Has worn the badge of good
Like lions they been layin’ with the lambs
Going down to the river
With blood on their hands

In the furnace of the desert
The fairest flower grows
By the name of sweet Marcina
She’s the queen of Mexico
She’s waitin’ by her window
With her prayer lights burnin’ low
And tonight i miss her more
Than i can stand
Goin’ down to the river
With blood on my hands

The law fell down upon me
In the dawning of the day
They led me to the courthouse steps
Where the hangman’s daughter plays
They say her arms will hold you tight
And this earth will slip away
And you and her go walkin’ hand in hand
Down to the river
With blood on your hands

Discography

Troubadour (Rykodisc) - Street date: Oct. 9, 2007
The Seventh Lake (Bad Dog) - 2004
Blue Mountain (Bad Dog) - 2004
Howl (Heroic Music) - 1998
Darling (RHA) - 1986
Wing of Fire (RCA) - 1984
Robert Hazard and the Heroes (RCA) - 1982 (EP)