Weekly Feature

2016-07-20 / Lifestyles

Musician finds new groove in latest album

Amherst Associate Editor

Mick Hayes recently released “GuitaR&B,” the musician’s first album since 2012. The record is available for purchase at www.mickhayesmusic.com. Mick Hayes recently released “GuitaR&B,” the musician’s first album since 2012. The record is available for purchase at www.mickhayesmusic.com. Prior to creating his sixth album that is now available for purchase, musician Mick Hayes knew he wanted to move into a new sound after his previous records consisted of blues, rock and acoustic based music.

After looking at all of his musical influences — which include bands and artists such as Steely Dan, Prince and Michael McDonald — Hayes felt that he wanted to make a record that incorporated multiple genres, such as rhythym and blues, soul, funk, jazz and rock.

The result became the 11-track album “GuitaR&B.” On the record, nearly every instrument is played by Hayes. Additionally, most of all of the record was written, performed, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Hayes.

For Hayes, it was important to him that his first release since 2012’s “Cafe Artistry” be a complete album. “GuitaR& B” is a record that he calls “cinematic and conceptual,” allowing the listener the opportunity to feel many emotions, including joy, pain and retribution through the entire album, which is all tied into Hayes’ talents as a guitarist.

“The R&B genre is so refined,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do. I really wanted to venture into that area of music that is more refined.”

Sitting in a Genesee Street coffee shop, it was easy for Hayes to recall the first time he thought of the album’s title.

“I was driving on [Genesee Street], right near the intersection near Holtz Road,” Hayes said. “And I suddenly had this thought, the album’s title could be ‘GuitaR&B’. I immediately pulled into a lot near the airport, grabbed a spot and researched it. I found that nobody had used that title for an album. And that was it.”

Hayes, a 1997 graduate of East Aurora High School, currently resides in Lancaster with his wife. The album — which contains songs such as “Snowed In With U,” written during the November 2014 snowstorm — was crafted at his home studio.

For that song, Hayes was also assisted by Najee, a renowned jazz musician who plays saxophone on the song.

Hayes said the songs on the album incorporate much of what he has learned as a musician within the past few years, including tutelage he gained from Vai Academy, led by Steve Vai, an internationally known guitarist who has toured with many bands, including Whitesnake and has been a member of The Experience Hendrix Tour.

At Vai Academy, musicians learn guitar techniques, be guided in writing melodies and enhancing their songwriting. For Hayes, attending the academy was an experience he would relate on “GuitaR&B.”

The melody of some of the music on Hayes’ latest album was actually worked on with Vai during the academy.

“Steve Vai worked with the melody right with me and told me to stick with it and that something good would come out of it,” Hayes said.

The album also finds Hayes showing a more vulnerable and emotional side in his songwriting as he shares with listeners past losses of love that eventually lead to clarity in life.

Hayes said “GuitaR&B” is an album he is proud to present to his listeners.

“And all of my influences of music go into this album,” he said. “This is a road-tested album. I went on many drives listening to this record. I drove in the city and in the country. There were lots of long drives.”

Hayes added that he is in negotiations with a music management company that by September will be representing him.

The public may also see Hayes as he embarks on his “First Impressions Tour,” which will have the musician visit national cities and allow rank strangers to listen to his music via headphones on a street corner. Hayes will be recording the first impressions of what people think about the album and use their comments for promotions.

Hayes also continues to perform in cities across the nation, including Sedona, Ariz., from which he just returned earlier this month.

For more information about Mick Hayes or to purchase a copy of “GuitaR&B,” visit Hayes’ website, www.mickhayesmusic.com.

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