The Singer Becomes The Song: The Transformation Of Hayes Carll

[caption id="attachment_163334" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Photos by Jacob Blickenstaff[/caption] To get a sense of what Hayes Carll has been up to the past few years, just listen to both versions of his song “Love Don’t Let Me Down.” The first, a duet with Caitlin Rose released as a stand-alone single in 2012, features Carll as the consummate country professional, singing harmony with Rose behind a gorgeously slick pedal-steel meets piano accompaniment. “Watched my dreams all turn and run/ They left me alone, thinking they’d come back someday,” Carll croons, holding out the last syllable of “someday” with the suave intimacy of a Sinatra ballad. Listen, then, to the solo rendition of “Love Don’t Let Me Down” included on Lovers And Leavers, Hayes Carll’s fifth full-length album and first since his 2011 breakthrough KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories). The recording begins with Carll’s soft, tired vocal accompanied merely by the quiet drone of a standup bass. When he sings that same line — the one about his dreams abandoning him — this time it’s delivered in a cracked whisper, with Carll barely pronouncing the final syllable of that final word  —”someday” — before his voice, too weary to continue, fades out…

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