Mitch Hayes, the winter 2016 choice for ‘Americana/Folk Artist of the Year by the Queen City Music Awards, brings his ‘Heroes Tour’ to Original Empire Pizza in Rock Hill Saturday. The tour is named for his well-received album ‘Heroes.”
If ever there was a time the world needs champions, the time is now. So, finding that Hayes’ ‘Heroes’ release is currently in the Top 100 of the Friday Morning Quarterback national chart is fortuitous. In fact, two of the album’s tracks are charting well – “All Fall Down” is at No. 31 and “Look at You” is at No. 50.
Based in Concord, Hayes – the self-professed “62-years-young” singer/songwriter – returns to Original Empire in a duo alongside Mike Alicke. Together they will present Haye’s eclectic Americana, blues, and country storytelling mix that’s delivered in a classic late 60’s meets early 70’s style. The timeless emotional style of Hayes is engaging, which also works to boost his appeal.
Listening to his tunes I heard a welcome familiar feel that’s updated, interesting and appealing. There’s a little picking and maybe grinning on the song “You Don’t Know Me’ plus a bit of ragtime a la Dr. John in “Second Hand BS.” That’s just the leading edge of tales told well by Hayes who one reviewer labeled ‘brave and honest.’
Time for a quick conversation with Hayes to see how this all shakes out musically. I find he’s just hoping that people will like his original music. “I grew up with music by Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond,” he said, “then, when I’m writing – it’s just how it comes out sometimes with a Dylan flavor or leaning more Neil Diamond.” But, then he declines to reveal what actually inspires a song. “If I do (reveal the actual inspiration)– I think you do your audience a disservice at times, you tell them too much,” he believes, adding, “I like to just leave it up to their interpretations.”
As for actual inspiration, Hayes waxes a bit ethereal. “I feel like there’s a muse sitting on my shoulder,” he admits. “I never know just where something comes from – maybe from something on TV, or a comment by a friend. I never know.” He also maintains that there’s a time and a place for everything. “I can’t just sit down and say I’m going to write a song today and then do it,” he declared. “That’s not how it works.”
It’s clear the creation process is highly personal to Hayes. “As a songwriter, words are important,” he says, pointing out that “some really listen and appreciate the words, while some just need a catchy beat. Then he pauses, throwing it all into the wind saying, “I’m not judgmental, they can like what they like.”
Turning to the upcoming show: “I’ve been to Original Empire Pizza a couple of times and I enjoy playing here,” Hayes revealed. “It’s a fun place, a cool place. You definitely have people there to listen. It’s more than just being background,” he continued. “Small rooms are more fun especially when the reaction is positive and then they want me to come back. I never forget that time is a commodity that you never get back I don’t take that lightly. It’s a huge compliment, a validation of what I’m doing.”
His is a simple invitation to his show in Rock Hill on Saturday. “Just come, enjoy the music,” Hayes says, then predicts, “it’ll probably be more originals than covers just come on in, that’s the main thing. The idea is to hear the music and enjoy – just have a good time. Hopefully, the music will speak to you,” he said in a straightforward, yet candid twist. Then added, “I work to make someone’s life a little better and when they come to a show, it’s appreciated. To feel that connection is certainly why I do this.”
For fun, time travel, lyrical discoveries and happy connection through music, meet up with The Mitch Hayes Duo, live Saturday at Original Empire Pizza, 1405 Riverchase Blvd, Rock Hill. Call 980-0522 for show details or go to empirepizzabar.com. For more on the music visit mitchhayesmusic.com.
Friday: Gas House Guru’s at Empire Pizza, Newport; Shades of Brown at Luke’s Sports Bar & Grill, Rock Hill; Teresa Guidry at McHale’s On Main, Rock Hill; Just 4 Fun at Handle Bar Tavern, Catawba; Southern Edge at 21 Roadhouse, Fort Lawn; Donnie Honeycutt at Sixpence Pub, Fort Mill; Little Johnny Trailer Trash at Hobo’s, Fort Mill; Sons of Carolina at Brew’s Tavern, Fort Mill; Cadence Band at T-Bones on the Lake, Lake Wylie; Moses Jones Duo at Olio’s, Gastonia; Curbside Prophets at Dreamchaser’s Brewery, Pineville; Jeff Shows at Pineville Tavern, Pineville; Scoot Pittman at The Lodge-Ballantyne, Charlotte; Matt Stratford at Wild Wing Café-Ayrsley, Charlotte.
Saturday: Mitch Hayes Duo at Original Empire Pizza, Rock Hill; The Hyde Band at Revolution’s at Galleria, Rock Hill; Cassette Rewind at Hickory Tavern, Rock Hill; Parker & Company at Another Round, Rock Hill; Karaoke Konnection with DJ Bernie at The Handle Bar Tavern, Catawba; Smilin’ Dogs at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s-Baxter, Fort Mill; Reggae Don a Hobo’s, Fort Mill; Caution Blind Driver a John’s Place, Fort Mill; Stella & Fellas at T-Bones on the Lake, Lake Wylie; Scoot Pittman at Olio’s, Gastonia; Shotgun Saints a Rockhouse Tavern & Billiards, Gastonia; Mike Faulkenberry & The Whisky Prophets at Dreamchaser’s Brewery, Pineville; Olde No. 7 Band at Pineville Tavern, Pineville; Lisa De Novo at Wild Wing Café-Ayrsley, Charlotte; Devil’s Hatband at The Lodge-Ballantyne, Charlotte.
Sunday: The Hyde Band at Handle Bar Tavern, Catawba; Early Ray at Mac’s Speed Shop-Lake Norman, Cornelius.
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