Texas troubadour Hayes Carll brought his two-piece Gulf Coast Orchestra to the Music Box concert hall Sunday evening for a wonderful night of songs and storytelling.
As Ray Wylie Hubbard once said, “He gets it.” The 39-years0young songwriter from the Woodlands, Texasm persevered at the beginning of his career until Trouble in Mind thrusted him into the national spotlight in 2008. Although Carll followed it up in 2011 with another smash record titled KMAG YOYO, it’s somewhat surprising that fans and admirers are still waiting for a new album five years later. A glimpse into what might be forthcoming next year was part of Carll’s 90-minute set, which listeners chased down like Fireball and PBR.
Opening with “It’s A Shame,” Carll spun through 18 songs, including the before-and-after double-down “Girl Downtown” and “Easy Come, Easy Go.” He played a few nuggets early, like “Drunken’ Poets Dream” and “Bible on the Dash,” with a cover of “For the Sake of the Song” paying tribute to Townes Van Zandt.
Part of going to a Hayes Carll show is getting to hear his excellent stories, and one dedicated to his son Eli set up “The Magic Kid” beautifully. Another was about a bar called Lala’s in Austin, that keeps its Christmas lights up for a son that never returned home from the war, titled “Jesus and Elvis.”
Carll brought out opener Aubrie Sellers to sing a duet on “Love Don’t Let Me Down” and rounded out the set with “KMAG YOYO,” “I Got A Gig,” “Chances Are,” and “Hard Out Here.” For the encore, Carll performed a solo acoustic version of “Beaumont” before the band, featuring Tim Linville (guitar, dobro) and Michael Meadows (drums), came back out to play “She Left Me for Jesus” and a blazing version of “Stomp and Holler.”
Opening act Aubrie Sellers, daughter of singer-songwriters Jason Sellers and Lee Ann Womack, delivered a wonderful set of sad country-western songs. Sellers is working on a release of original material for her debut album with producer Frank Liddell, which is due in 2016. Highlights included “Something Special” and “Liar Liar,” along with “Loveless Rollingstone,” which you can hear a sample of on the homepage of this next Americana starlet.