Hayes Carll, Shovels & Rope | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Hayes Carll, Shovels & Rope Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Fri., April 8, 10 p.m. 2011

As a student of Steve Earle's twangy country-rock drawl and Bob Dylan's word-crammed cadences on "Subterranean Homesick Blues," Hayes Carll has few contemporary rivals, but on his new record for Lost Highway, KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories), the Texan sometimes struggles when he ventures into other territory. A sharp sense of humor and nonchalant smarts run through everything he does, but on the ballad "Hard Out Here," where he's mock indignant about how hard it is to be a budding country star, his humor seems like a way to distance himself from any real feeling. He does show some nice range (and vulnerability) on the emotional ballad "Chances Are," and the high-energy title track—whose wild narrative follows an enlistee unhappy with a tour in Afghanistan, who turns to stealing poppies from the Taliban and gets sent home to become a guinea pig for military drug experiments—benefits from Carll's sly chutzpah. I'm betting he's got more than enough talent to step out of the shadows of his influences (among them fellow Texans like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Guy Clark), but he's not quite ready yet. —Peter Margasak

Price: Sold out

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