HAYDEN plays the Dakota Tavern February 20, the Cameron House February 21, the Rivoli February 22 and the Field Trip Music & Arts Festival at Fort York’s Garrison Commons June 8. Rating: NNNN
Hayden seemed to run away from his mid-90s chance at stardom, retreating into his studio to occasionally release sad but solid albums with minimal promotion. Music critics still loved him, but his introverted folk-pop tunes no longer had much of a chance of reaching a wider audience. This pattern may be about to change, though. His new album, Us Alone, is not only a stunning, understated collection of songs, but the notoriously reclusive artist has also decided to tour and do press this time around.
If you're a long-time fan, you'll be happy that he hasn't gone through any drastic musical changes. He still sounds like Hayden, but he's stripped down the production to better approximate the sound of a band in a room. That bare-bones intimacy works perfectly with his delicate voice and melancholic songs. He even sounds vaguely upbeat at times, although there's still no chance of a dance music crossover in his future.
Top track: Blurry Nights