While his voice and visage are still familiar to millions from his tenure as front-man, principal songwriter, and lead vocalist of pop sensations Men at Work ("Down Under," "Overkill," "Who Can It Be Now?"), the past 10 years have found him quietly re-introducing himself to new generations of fans.
"Although I'm not technically an American citizen, I've been living here for 20 years," reflects Colin Hay from his home in California. "I like it here. You look up at the sky, and there's no evidence of anything. It's amazing to think that, under that sky, there is so much horror going on here but it's so beautiful at the same time." Hay's new album, American Sunshine is marked by several sideways glances at the American dream that perilous balance between potential and reality along with knowing ruminations on the transformative effects of love and the passing of time, set to some of the purest pop, hardest rock, and most emotionally bare acoustic balladry Hay has yet laid down. Curiously, the America of American Sunshine is profoundly shaped by two very different dream factories on nearly opposite ends of the country: California and Nashville.
American Sunshine's tracks include themes of redemption and renewal, which come naturally to Hay, as he is in the midst of a remarkable renaissance. While his voice and visage are still familiar to millions from his tenure as frontman, principal songwriter, and lead vocalist of pop sensations Men at Work ("Down Under," "Overkill," "Who Can It Be Now?"), the past 10 years have found him quietly re-introducing himself to new generations of fans. The frequent use of his music on soundtracks including the hit television show Scrubs (on which he has also had several cameos) and the sleeper-hit soundtrack to the film Garden State has proven the timeless appeal of his songs' personae: quizzical, curious, cynical yet open-hearted. Combine that with tireless touring and an ongoing successful partnership with Nashville-based indie Compass Records, and Hay is poised to enter a new phase in his already storied career.
Most artists who have experienced the levels of success and adulation Hay has would be content to sit back and earn a living walking to the mailbox and back. Yet Hay is restless, eager to move forward and continually hone his craft while continuing to challenge himself. While the resultant performances have an easy-going clarity and honesty, the process behind much of American Sunshine was actually designed to take Hay out of his element and try working methods that were at once classic
and unfamiliar. "Six of the songs," he says, "are from a two-day session in Nashville."
Much of the stripped-down energy and unflinching clarity of American Sunshine can also be attributed to Hay's endless tour itinerary, which consists of both solo and full-band shows. Just prior to the release of American Sunshine, he traveled for a little over a month, playing 28 solo acoustic shows, 26 of them sold-out. "It was, honestly, the best tour I've ever done," he says no small claim from a man who has performed in every possible situation, from packed arenas and enormous outdoor
festivals with a full band to demanding, intimate shows in small rooms with just his guitar. Hay's solo shows intersperse classic and new songs with hilarious, poignant, and downright surreal stories drawn from his often unbelievable experiences over the past three decades.
Universal Preservation Hall
25 Washington Street
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
|Minimum Age: 18|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|