Hunter Hayes is ready to rock Gypsum
Hunter Hayes understands it’s a big deal to be the headliner at the Gypsum Daze concert.
Gypsum Daze isn’t the Grammys, where Hayes has been a five-time nominee, or the Nashville stage, where he was named CMA New Artist of the Year in 2012. Lundgren Theater can’t compare to some of the huge national or international venues where he has performed.
But for Gypsum, and the entire Eagle River Valley, the Gypsum Daze concert marks the one day when a big time country artist performs in town and Hayes can appreciate why his concert on Saturday night is a very special event for fans.
“I grew up in this little town in Louisiana where we had this one big festival, once a year. It was a really big deal,” said Hayes. “So I want everyone to know how grateful I am you have chosen to include us (in Gypsum Daze). I am stocked to get there.”
When looking at his long list of accolades, its hard to remember that Hayes is just 24 years old. Of course, he has packed a lot of star power into each of those years.
Hayes received his first guitar from actor Robert Duvall at age six. He met the actor when he was tapped to portray the child accordionist in Duvall’s 1997 film “The Apostle” By age 7, he had been invited to perform at the White House and he signed his first record deal with Atlantic Nashville Records at age 18. Soon after, he started touring as a support act for Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood..
Hayes’ self titled debut album, released in 2011, yielded three consecutive No. 1 singles — “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” “I Want Crazy” and crossover hit “Wanted.” Hayes co-wrote every song, played every instrument, and along with Dann Huff, produced the album. He followed up with his second album, “Storyline” in 2014 which included hit singles “Tatoo” and “Invisible.” His latest work is titled “The 21 Project.” It is a limited edition, three disc collection of new music featuring one acoustic, one studio and one live disc. The project shows the life of seven songs through each variation. Additionally, Hayes is at work on new music for this next full length studio album. Which brings us back to Gypsum Daze.
Every show is special
Hayes noted he is spending a lot of time in the studio working on that upcoming album so he isn’t on a formal tour this year.
“This year is lighter than usual, which is borderline unnerving for me. We live to be on the road,” said Hayes. “As a result, every show means so much more. It’s actually raising the bar for us.”
He is trying some new stagemanship while out on the road these days, with the idea that less can be more.
“I walk on the stage in almost silence instead of making a grand entrance,” he said. “I just want to show people something more human.”
But stripping things back represents a risk, Hayes said. “The top of the show is my most nerve-wreaking time,” he said.
Hayes lives to perform, but he strives to make connection with the audience during his time on stage. Through music, he tells his story and lets his fans know what he is thinking about and struggling with. But that doesn’t mean a Hunter Hayes concert is a laid back experience. His shows are described as “a wild, no-hold-bared vision.”
“I can’t tell you the number of people who are at a show who have been at the last 10 shows,” said Hayes. “The heart of county music is about people and it’s a special connection.”
At Gypsum on Saturday night, there will be both hard-core Hayes fans and people who are hearing his music for the first time. Regardless of whether someone is familiar with his work or not, Hayes said by the end of the night, he hopes to form a bond with everyone who has shared the evening with him.
“At the end of show, you know me,” he said.
Tickets for the Gypsum Daze Concern featuring Hunter Hayes with special guest Danielle Bradbury are available at http://www.townofgypsum.com. Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 on the day of the show.
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