Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Danny Reisch at Good Danny's, Austin, Texas
The way that I like to imagine a Hayden song behaving - if a song were a person - is as a bundled up old man, dealing with a snowfall, working on a cup of coffee and a hot breakfast. As the Canadian songwriter sings, "Don't know how we did it but we made it through the winter just in time," here, he takes us into these worlds where the roofs are smothered with a heavy blanket of white stuff, but the chimney has a river of white smoke rising out of it and everything on the inside is cooked up into a good heat. There's a record player over there in the corner and the shelves are lined with books. There's a pantry that these old man songs can raid for simple dishes, made with rice, and noodles, beans and canned meat. You can picture these songs slowly wrapping a scarf around their necks, reaching an arm back to find the opening for the sleeve of a big coat, sliding it in with a grunt and a groan. You can see them swinging the door open and grabbing that shovel leaving against the side of the house - pushing the snow as far down the sidewalk as they can before it just bunches up to heavy and it has to be thrown sideways, just so they can push more. All of this seems to happen under the cast of a night, as the nights are always longer than the days in Hayden songs. He's a songwriter who, for the longest time now, has continued to find new and exhilarating ways to make the punishment that spirits take feel so homey.