In Love & Death
Jeffrey Hayes, 'In Love and Death' The story Jeffrey Hayes was born in 1969 and grew up in the Watchung Mountains of New Jersey. Ten kids, Jeffrey the youngest. Dad´s filling station doesn´t feed the family. When the gas bill has not been paid you put a camping-stove on top of the gas-stove and cook dinner anyway. When Jeffrey is six, his mother dies. He realizes that singing feels good, preferably alone in the woods, sad songs for the squirrels. Country and Hillbilly, his parents' favourite, the older siblings' Rock´n´Roll, the songs from sunday school - everything blends and it blends well. Jeffrey finds a guitar. There is no way back now. One day he finds himself in New York City. He plays street-corners. He discovers the Ramones. A new blend, folk with the 'f***-it'-attitude of punk rock, it´s weird, it´s perfect. Jeffrey moves to Los Angeles. Gigs in coffee houses, homemade cassettes, odd jobs to survive. He sings and dreams. Drugs help him dream and nearly kill him. He opts against it. In 1998 he visits a friend in Germany and stays. Music for Munich street-corners. Then the first CD, 'tree', produced in his bedroom. Critical acclaim. A tour supporting Ani Difranco. Mainstream and riches? Not really. Jeffrey writes new songs, he plays with his band, then solo again, he has family now, a wife and two dogs, and from time to time, in the small hours, Gram Parson´s ghost drops by and recently also Dee Dee Ramone. 'We don´t need no wings now baby/ To set our dreams on high ...' The record 'In Love and Death' is Jeffrey Hayes' second CD. Thirteen songs that tell about the wish to live and the wish to die, about the night, about love and escape and some unexpected angels. Strange, sad stories. A girl drowns. A dog runs away, again and again, nobody ever closes the gate. A smackhead helps himself from the collection plate and wonders if the entrance fee to Heaven equals the price for the next shot. A young couple on their way to Mexico, they don´t find what they are looking for and don´t know what it is, anyway. A silent love-story in a bus between Albuquerque and L.A. A girl smiles. Elvis is dead. If the heart stopped, sometimes it would feel so good. You can hear the influences: Hank Williams, Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen, Gospel sometimes, the ancient ballads from the mountains, Hillbilly-singalongs and, unmistakably, and no alien element, the Ramones. Traditions merge without effort and become Jeffrey´s very own music. Grief, joy, hope, despair, no-frills and down to earth. Also 'In Love and Death' was recorderd in Jeffrey´s bedroom, but it was mixed in a studio. The instrumentation is still sparse: guitar, a little percussion, a little bass, here and there the whiff of an organ. A lo-fi-folk-punk-record not suited for dancing. The mood: dark and bright. Relaxed. Some irony. Resigned optimism. A look back, a look inside, a look forward and beyond. Jeffrey knows what he sings about. Christine Wunnicke.