Bay-Area singer-songwriter Sean Hayes released his last album, Before We Turned to Dust, in 2012. Dust is an engaging collection of indie folk and soul — cooler than skinny-dipping off the Northern California coast. Since then, Hayes tells EW via email, he’s left San Francisco, had another baby and began work on Dust’s follow-up.
If you’ve never heard Hayes, expect introspective lyrics, loose and funky grooves recalling Bill Withers and the kind of ramblin’ gamblin’ song-and-dance feel that’s frequently labeled Americana. Hayes calls his sound “lyrical, round, soulful,” music that is “close to the earth, staring at the moon.”
Notable from Dust are the melancholy, intricate yet hip-swaying horn arrangements painting the record in pale blues — particularly on tracks “Rocksteady” and the bayou stomp of “In Your Pocket.” The album’s production occasionally recalls the neo-space R&B of TV on The Radio, except with a West Coast chill-out twist.
Hayes says his live shows are places “you can listen, you can talk, you can sit down or dance. I sing songs and remember why I wrote them.” And Hayes also has a special, mysterious message for Eugene: “Later this year after I have come and gone,” Hayes says, “a great polar bear will be moving to your city. You are very lucky to have him roaming your streets! He plays a mean bass!”
So later this year, if you see a bass-playing polar bear roaming the streets of Eugene, don’t say Hayes didn’t warn you.
Eric + Erica open for Sean Hayes 8 pm Thursday, Sept. 25, at WOW Hall; $15 adv., $17 door, $20 reserved seating.