Monday, August 10, 2009

CD Reviews- Wade Hayes- Place To Turn Around

The Background:
Wade Hayes made his debut in 1994 on Columbia Records with his gold-certified album Old Enough to Know Better. Its title track, which served as his debut single, reached Number One on the Billboard charts. Three more singles from it all reached Top Ten as well including “I’m Still Dancing With You,” “Don’t Stop,” and “What I Really Meant To Say.” He also had a big hit with 1996's “On a Good Night.” Recently, he has been playing guitar and singing harmony for Alabama’s Randy Owen out on tour. Hayes has just released his 5th album on 7/29/09 entitled Place To Turn Around.

The Review:
With apologies to Yogi Berra, it’s time to rediscover Wade Hayes for the first time. Place To Turn Around is everything that is great about indie records. Imagine hanging around your favorite honkytonk bar and hearing an artist singing great neo-traditional country music with acoustic guitars, fiddle and steel and buying an album at the side of the stage following the performance. And then imagine that the artist you were listening wasn’t some unknown band, but a road-tested Nashville songwriter and musician with many hits under his belt. That is the experience of listening to Wade Hayes brand new album. With an emotive voice and meaningful storytelling lyrics, this is country music that is getting very little representation on the radio dial. It’s everything Jason Aldean isn’t. What might have not been that unique in the 80’s and early 90’s is fresh and new. Hayes’ emotive baritone voice is a bit throaty and breathless when he sings higher notes or with power. But that so-called-fault in his voice only gives the songs more emotion and feeling. On songs like “Every Time I Give The Devil A Ride” and “Good Day To Go Crazy,” we’re reminded what a great guitarist and underrated instrumentalist that Hayes has always been. His picking is as skilled as anything Brad Paisley has put out on these two tracks. The production is focused on more acoustic sound than the current country music landscape and is beautiful as well. From the beautiful mandolin “singing” harmony on the title track to the terrific pleading lyrics for God to perform a healing miracle on “What’s A Broken Heart For You,” this album is an unexpected gem and one of our favorite top ten albums released thus far into 2009.

Sounds Like:
Tracy Lawrence and Alan Jackson

Track Highlights (suggested iPod adds):
The Best Part
What’s A Broken Heart For You
Place To Turn Around
Every Time I Give The Devil A Ride

The Verdict:
Four Stars Out Of Five


  1. Wade Hayes has always brought a full hamper to the country music table - a great voice, heart-reaching lyrics (or foot-stompers, if you choose) and extraordinary musicianship. "Place to Turn Around" is a full banquet - his best delivery yet. Don't deny yourself this album. ~~ HN

  2. I am delighted that someone is finally giving recognition to Wade Hayes, who in my opinion is the best kept secret talent in Nashville. I had given up on listening to country music until by happenstance I was introduced to Wade's music in 2006. This guy is so superior to anybody out there calling themselves country artists these days. Wake up radio and let the people hear the best and most diverse voice I have heard since Elvis Presley! Wade has outdone himself on this album.

  3. Thank you for acknowledging this wonderful album and artist. In a way, as an "indie" album, it might be all the more exciting for people to discover it and to realize that great songs and singer/songwriters can reach us through new means.
    I can't agree more with the previous posters. And, no, the comparison to Elvis is not over the top - Wade has the most distinctive and expressive country voice out there and I'd recognize him from a single note. His fine picking, his unerringly good taste in songs (even in the lighter ditties), his nuanced and heartfelt delivery, this guy is the real deal. Check out Wade's other albums and you won't find a single song that he doesn't elevate to its highest potential. It's a thrill to hear Wade again and all the more so considering that he had complete creative control over this exciting must-have album.

  4. Excellent review for an excellent album! Nice to see Wade back, and in such fine form!

  5. I have enjoyed Wade's singing since he came on the scene. He is one of the best singers around who still performs the "traditional" country songs. He is great at showing his emotions in his songs. His guitar playing is great and I love to sit and listen to him sing. I try to find places he is performing close to where I live just so I can get a chance to watch a live performance. He is one artist not to be missed. I just wish he would make more stops in his home state of Oklahoma so I can see more of him. In my opinion, he is better than some of the newer artists who claim to be country. Wade Hayes is true "COUNTRY".

  6. Wade is a shining star that Nashville has truly overlooked the last few years. This new album shines far above the "country" they currently play on the radio. Wade is so talented and truly deserves all the best! His song writing is deep and profound. In a time of so many country artists crossing over into pop, Wade delivers that "real" country sound and feeling. He has always been and will continue to be my favorite artist. To top it all off he is a nice guy, who appreciates his fans.

  7. I can't tell you what it's like to finally see Wade get some of the recognition that he truely deserves. He is so talented. He has improved so much since he first began yet. Thank you so much for acknowledging what a wonderful "gem" he just produced. I hope that everyone else will see what extremely talented singer/songwriter that he is!

  8. Back in 1998 when I first discovered country music, Wade Hayes and Paul Brandt were my two favorites. As the years have gone by, both of them have virtually disappeared from CMT and the radio and I can't figure out why. They both continue to make music that is as good as or better than what is currently at the top of the charts. I was so glad when I discovered that Wade was finally putting out a new album and when I bought it I was not disappointed by what I heard. Wake up CMT and GAC! Wake up country radio and give us some authentic country music again! Thanks, Wade, for another great album!

  9. I agree with what everyone has said about Wade..I've been a fan of his since day 1 and continue to be to this very day. There is NO other voice out there on radio that touches my soul like Wade's, and probably never will be. In my opinion, he's one of the BEST of the BEST!!! Nashville, WAKE UP AND RE-DISCOVER THIS GREAT TALENT!!!! Sue :-)

  10. You are right on with the Wade Hayes review. It is a great album.

  11. Debbie/LegallyLipglossSeptember 29, 2009 at 7:15 PM

    All of Wade's recorded efforts/performances throughout his entire career have been 5-Star. What makes this album extra special, is he wrote most all of the songs, therefore it is a personal glimpse of his inner man--and what an awesome album it is. Then again, I would expect nothing less from Wade. Given his abounding talent, he should have become as popular as George Strait, but perhaps God had other plans. Wade is a blessing to all his fans. If you haven't discovered the genius of his music yet--you're in for the treat of a lifetime for traditional country music lovers!
    Whst are you waiting for? All of his music is timeless. :)

  12. Picnic hampers and die hard fans pretending to be critics aside - Hayes' music has always been top shelf. It's a shame it can't be purchased anywhere execpt on a fan's web page.

  13. I always be a Wade Hayes fan since his debut , this is a great album and I'm happy to see him back

  14. Where he's been and where he's going! Wade's unique ability to take his audience with him,
    has not changed, but is somehow enhanced in this new album. Welcome back Wade Hayes!
    I believe "Things happen for a reason".
    All the best to you, I said when we met.

  15. Penny from CaliforniaFebruary 22, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Awesome heart felt album. I wish you the best on this one, you deserve it. Keep on smiling. :) ((HUGS))

  16. Wade worked at our club "Charlie's Palace" in Shawnee, Okla. ( about 5 miles from his home-town of Bethel, Okla. when he was 14, and believe me he was as good then as he is now.
    About a week before Wade's first album came out, Charlie & I drove to "Billy Bob's" in Texas to see him perform. I knew he had the talent to be a super-star, but I needed to see how a large audience would accept and inter-act with him. He was great and had fantastic stage presence & they loved him. I told him then he was destined to be a super-star one day.
    But with the politics, etc. ( we know how that all works in Nashville? ), and him not being willing to become a puppet and do the rock thing, and let them change him from who he was, and tell him how and what he would sing, has taken him much longer than it should have for him to become the super-star he really is.
    He stuck to his country values and stayed true to himself and his music. His stick-to-it-ness is an Oklahoma trait. You don't tell us we can't do something our way when we know it is the best & right way.
    With his new album, and your support and praise, Wade will soon be in his rightful role as a super-star. Thanks so much for recognizeing our Oklahoma boy's talent, and validating his tremendous ability to go all the way. Momma Jo (JoAnn Cox), Shawnee, Oklahoma

  17. I really like Wade's CD A Place to turn Around. Kerry From IN

  18. Wade's 2009 album, Place to turn around, is a real gem! This is county, real county, traditional country. Is there any other? I don't think so. Country radio has been bought by Nashville, greed and is self-serving. I have the system figured out and refuse to let them brain wash me with garbage.

    We need a return of 80's and 90's country. Strait, RVS, Dwight, AJ, RT, Restless Heart, Highway 101, Steve Wariner, Doug Stone, Hal Ketchum, Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, Michelle Wright, Alabama, Travis Tritt, Mark Chesnutt, Early Clint Black, Early Garth and Reba. I guess Garth and Shania are two to blame for the early changes toward pop-country influences. God bless Wade Hayes, get well and stay well. WE need your music. I know I do. Good job at the Dosey Doe in The Woodlands, TEXAS. Can't wait to see you again.
    Alan (doctor and songwriter)