Ward Hayden & The Outliers Bring It All Back Home on ‘South Shore’ Due Out on May 5

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In the long, rich history of country music, life in a small town is a major theme in many of its finest songs. On South Shore, the ninth album from singer, songwriter Ward Hayden and his band The Outliers, they deliver a rich and rewarding new chapter within that tradition and much more on the essential matters of life, love and the world around us.

Due out on May 5 on the band’s own Faster Horses Recordings, South Shore delivers further winning iterations on the band’s “smooth, authentic Honky Tonk, early Rock & Roll vibe that’s incredibly endearing” (Cincinnati City Beat). It’s a collection that brings it all back home to the small coastal town of Scituate. MA, some 30 miles south of Boston, where Ward Hayden hails from and returned to five years ago.

“It’s the closest thing I’ve ever done to a concept album,” Ward notes. “I wanted to just recount my experience of growing up in a small town and what it meant and what it took to get out and leave that behind and try to pursue something, chase after something that was and is a dream. I used to joke that my greatest achievement was I got out of here because it was no easy feat.”

Soon after starting his band in his mid-20s, Hayden got out of Scituate to Boston, just up the coast. Known as a great American music city, it proved to be an ideal launching pad for his group. Ward Hayden & The Outliers (formerly known as Girls Guns and Glory) are the only act to win both a Boston Music Award for Act of the Year (as well as with six other BMAs) and legendary Beantown radio station WBCN’s annual Rumble,

 

The group went on to later win an Independent Artist of the Year at the French Country Music Awards plus an Americana Music Awards nomination for Album of the Year. Playing some 200 dates across America over the last two decades as well as more than a dozen tours of Europe, they’ve won over a loyal following by melding country music’s and rock’n’roll’s finest roots with contemporary authenticity and appeal.

South Shore opens with the mission statement of “Write a Song.” the album’s first single. followed by observations, memories, and contemplations on the place he hails from, both then and now, on the title track as well as “(Breaking Up with) My Hometown.” Hayden explores such themes as toxic relationships on “Crazy Love,” his place in the world in “Gasoline” and “Things These Days,” and how quickly and constantly things change in “Blink of an Eye. In the wake of a tumultuous time in his life, in “Can’t Wake Up” Ward recounts a prophetic dream he had about the ravages of warfare that chillingly became reality in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Being the father of a two-year-old daughter sparked “Hush,” about a mother offering life lessons to her child. And Ward closes the LP with a philosophical meditation on what’s to come that he wrote for his wife, “The Great Unknown.” It’s all set within the band’s “amber-soaked melodies, tight musicianship, and casual elegance,” as The Boston Globe describes their sound.

On their musical journey, Ward Hayden & The Outliers – currently Josh Kiggans on drums and percussion, Cody Nilsen on guitar and pedal steel, and Handsome Greg Hall on bass – have cut albums with such noted producers as Boston studio legend Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Hole, Warren Zevon, Morphine, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Uncle Tupelo) and roots rock guru Eric Ambel (Nils Lofgren, Marshall Crenshaw, The Bottle Rockets, Blue Mountain). South Shore returns them to recording in Hayden’s Atlantic coastal homeland with producer Rob Loyot, who recorded Ward’s first three albums, and who Hayden feels “might be my musical soulmate.”

Hayden’s career playing his “own brand of American roots music that satisfies like homemade apple pie” (Farmington Valley Times) has had benefits and challenges that he both enjoys. “I had a hankering and a desire to have some adventure and to just get out there and see the country and hopefully see the world. I’ve just been traveling around almost non-stop for pretty much my entire adult life,” Ward concludes. “Once I made the decision to do this, I knew it would be a roller coaster. I was obviously hoping for good things to happen, but it’s been ups and downs. For me, it’s been about hanging in there through all aspects of the ride and whether things are going well or when things get tough, not giving up.”

https://www.wardhaydenandtheoutliers.com/

March
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