The Norman Transcript

October 11, 2013

Music review: Hadden Sayers sings inspired blues

By Doug Hill
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Musician: Hadden Sayers

Album name: Rolling Soul (2013, Blue Corn Music)

Why you should listen: Blues guitarist Hadden Sayers’ latest disc makes for outstanding road trip music. Slip it in the CD player, watch America roll by and listen to a dozen songs that were written in 12 different cities from Chicago to the Mexican Riviera. Entries for each tune in the liner notes lists the year written, town and a brief history of how it came into being.

An attractive aspect of this collection is that each song has unique character with none sounding like another. What unites them is that they’re all about affection, heartbreak and desire to be with the one Sayers loves. The vocals and guitar are all his save for the sweet soulful back-up singing by Ruthie Foster on “Lay Down your Worries.” It’s a strong duet with both Texas natives sharing a similar accent that intertwines beautifully. The track is an album highlight.

“Want what you have” is musically powerful with tomcat-howl blues harp and crisp upbeat tempo. Lyrically it’s a train wreck. With no coherent explanation leading in, the listener eventually learns the “American Dream” isn’t what it used to be. That may very well be the case for many but this song isn’t destined to be an anthem for them.

“Alone with the blues” is an inspired Sayers at his best. He makes that guitar tell a story of loneliness that sounds like despair in a run-down motel room. One reason for this album’s distinctive variety is the inclusion of Sayers’ accompaniment by a band playing acoustic and electric piano, clavinet, accordion and baritone saxophone. They make for jazz, R&B and folk rock flourishes that add amazing depth. Take this trip with Sayers and find a new panorama of the blues.