Singer-songwriters, for the most part, get a bad rap. There is often this stigma attached to the genre that if you’re not Beck, or if you didn’t have the decency to die like Elliot Smith, then you are worthless to the genre, and I hate it. I just want a person that has the skills to write and sing me a song that is pleasing to hear. Something that sounds good in my head, and evokes an emotional response. Somehow that has become too little to ask. The critics of this form can go #$%& themselves.
Hayden came to Philadelphia to play to my people. People that want a song, that want emotion, that want a life that has built up to the very point that a particular note was played. Spanning all of his epically understated, but prolific career, his set at Boot & Saddle on Wednesday night hit all the right notes.
Playing most of the major songs that the crowd was hoping to hear, and at least addressing the ones he wouldn’t, his simultaneously gruff and gentle croon bounced over the walls of the mostly-full venue. He playfully touched on the themes of each song, whether they be about his cat or his wife, and touched on the origins of certain older fare, just as any decent artist should. It was a basic setup and the backing band was phenomenal and multi-talented. Why is that something that should be discounted? I don’t know. It was a grand evening and one full of song and heart.