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Good songs on an imperfect night for Hayes Carll

Paradise, Boston, November 4, 2011

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Hayes Carll's calling card is She Left Me for Jesus, a song he says ticks off a number of different groups. But, in reality, the Texas native is a guy who knows a thing or two about writing a good, humorous tune.

But that would be selling Carll short. Of course, the light side and his view of life is a key element for what makes him tick, but there is more depth than that. Otherwise, he would fall into the category of novelty act, and novelty acts tend not to have a very long shelf life unless your name is Weird Al Yankovic.

In fact, Carll has a sharp eye for detail and writes very good songs. Country of the traditional kind is what Carll performs, but that is part of the mix as he had a definite bluesy edge to his sound and vocals.

Unfortunately, Carll often suffered from a less than stellar sound mix. His vocals sometimes got buried. But particularly buried were the vocals of opening act Caitlin Rose, who stepped up during Carll's set, for what should have been a highlight, Another Like You" at least based on how it sounds on the CD with Carrie Hearst handling the vocals.

Rose's singing was almost entirely undecipherable, making for a waste of a song. And when it came to song structure, he tended to go down the same path a bit too often, which meant often starting songs with just his vocals and an acoustic guitar before the band kicked in. A bit more variety would have been welcome.

Carll's singing sometimes got a bit on the throaty side with the words not easily heard. The end result was the set lost a bit of steam by the end of the approximately 1 -hour show.

The set certainly had its glitches, and they were not minor ones, but Carll dished out enough good songs and an entertaining demeanor to overcome that.