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Wade Hayes

Place to Turn Around – 2009 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Michael Sudhalter

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CDs by Wade Hayes

When a conversation about country music starts with the phrase, "Whatever happened to..." - Wade Hayes' name comes to mind. The Bethel Acres, Okla. native was a rising star in the mid-1990's, opening up for the likes of Brooks & Dunn. His music leaned traditional at a time when Nashville was veering towards pop-country. It's been nine years since his last album, but Hayes picks up where he left off with the same honky tonk sounds and tender ballads that landed him on the top of the charts during his heyday. Hayes, who briefly formed a duo with Mark McClurg (Alan Jackson's fiddle player) called McHayes, plays in Randy Owen's new band. But he still tours as a solo artist.

Good Day To Go Crazy almost seems like a sequel to Old Enough To Know Better, in its carefree party atmosphere. And Every Time I Give The Devil A Ride is a real barnburner. It's a tongue-in-cheek song about the devil wanting to drive every time (he gets a ride).

The Best Part is a mid-tempo song with a good message behind it - trying to see the silver linings in life.

He had a hand in writing 9 of the album's 11 songs, but one of the covers is Wayne Carson's Drinkin' Thing which was recorded by Gary Stewart, one of Hayes' biggest influences. And Hayes does a good job covering the honky tonk song. But Hayes truly makes an impact with the abundance of ballads on the album; it's definitely the strength of the new track, especially God Made Me (To Love You) and She Knows Me, which is about loving someone despite their flaws.