It wasn’t always this way. Because for a while, Sayers wasn’t on the road.
He built a successful career in Houston, Texas before relocating to the Midwest so his wife could pursue a career in cancer research. But then, shifty record companies faded away. Band members died tragically. The gigs stopped coming through and the phone stopped ringing. The ’57 Strat stayed in its case.
However, Sayers rediscovered his love of music on regular drives to Southern Ohio where he was rehabbing a battered cabin. The murmur of radials on concrete, the sounds of Van Morrison and Same Cooke on the stereo, and the support and tutelage of a grizzled stonemason sent him back to the recording studio.
In 2011, Sayers released the acclaimed Hard Dollar, featuring the single “Back to the Blues,” which was nominated for the Song of the Year Award at the 33rd Annual Blues Music Awards. The album launched him back onto stages around the country. More than 100 gigs followed, from New York City to Mammoth Lakes, California.
Sayers embraced the road, loved it. Savored the miles, the buses, and the airplanes. While the easy rock and roll tale is to collect panties and mugshots on the road, Sayers collected stories. Stories by everyday people who were moved by his musical rejuvenation in that Southern Ohio shack.
There was a widow named Dottie in Iowa. Her husband died tragically and she decided to take classes at a local home improvement store and build the deck her late husband always wanted. Sayers’ music played on an iPod as she drove nails on the weekends.
There was an elderly gentleman in Illinois who broke down backstage after a Sayers’ concert reminded him of lost loved ones.
These, and many more, stories from the road resonated in Hadden Sayers’ head and heart as he traveled the country, driving him to explore the human condition more deeply.
The result of that troubadour experience is the eagerly anticipated album Rolling Soul from Blue Corn Music, due February 2013.
Confident tunes from a mature, assured composer, the record features Sayers at his best. Heartfelt lyrics sung from deep inside matched with innovative guitar work, recorded with the warmth and soul and depth of the best vintage gear. It’s a record to contemplate and savor.
Songs like “Something Wrong in the World”, “Lay Down Your Worries”, and “The Man I’m Supposed to Be”, feature a novelist’s eye for detail and a poet’s way with words.
To celebrate the release of the record, Sayers is doing what he does best: he’s hitting the road. Hauling a refurbished 1962 Airstream trailer christened “The Rolling Soul Emporium” behind his ‘61 Chevy Bubbletop Impala to select gigs, festivals, and surprise pop-up appearances around the country, the bluesman is rolling some soul into every town. Not simply a method of travel, the trailer is a mobile manifestation of Sayers’ love of music, food, and the road. Fans across the country will be able to track the Emporium’s movements on Facebook, participate in contests, and hang out before and after shows.
Hadden Sayers belongs on the road, amongst the music lovers of our small towns and big cities. He’s lived his own hard times, and he’s taken in the challenges of his fans. He’s persevered and witnessed tremendous determination in the faces of the crowd. And with the Rolling Soul album and tour of 2013, he’s celebrating it all.