Tag Archives: Colin Hay

Making the Town Hall Like Home – Colin Hay 4/29/12

29 Apr

It made complete sense that Colin Hay performed at Town Hall in New York City’s Times Square. Town Hall, an intimate theater between Sixth and Broadway, sits around 1,500 people comfortably in warm colors. It is not so much a concert venue, but rather a true theater that fits in with the several Broadway buildings it borders. So, appropriately Colin Hay fit right in with the setting, entertaining the crowd with anecdotes and sprinkled badinage between songs. And, the fact that he performed the show in honor of former Men at Work bandmate Greg Ham who passed away only 10 days ago, just made the night more special for those who had the privilege of seeing the Scottish/Australian acoustic crooner.

What is so striking about a Colin Hay concert is his effortless eloquence. He is a smooth talker and his Australian-influenced brogue gives his words extra power that on Friday resounded through the theater. Hay is the very definition of a troubador, telling his engaging life story through a set list mostly devoted to his chronological development. You felt at home with Hay, like he was one of your buddies and you were sitting around at a backyard barbecue. Strike up the grill, put on some portobello mushrooms (he is a vegetarian like myself), tell stories, and play tunes. It is a comfortable formula, and with it Hay made Town Hall feel like home.

Before Hay came on stage, the crowd was buttered up by acoustic singer/songwriter Ryan Montbleau, who kidded with the audience about his insecurities while diving into his short set of well-developed pieces. The music was creative and refreshing and I will not say more now because Montbleau will be featured on the Music Court within the coming weeks.

Then, with the sounds of “Down Under,” and the voice over by a passionate individual stating that Hay saved his life from washed-down pop music (after he heard Hay’s music on the Garden State soundtrack and the television show Scrubs), Hay walked on stage in a sharp coat and said hello to the audience, immediately engaging in a running dialogue (even though he couldn’t hear well with his ear plugs) that represented up his charm, intelligence, and humor.

Hay told several stories under the roof of the Town Hall in between songs, and some stories (most) worked to set up music. For example he described how he wrote “Beautiful World” while in California detoxing from his Australian-influenced alcoholic ways. He then described how he knew an individual who sang the song out in the Pacific and then was gnawed at by a shark who clearly enjoyed the piece. As Hay said during the show, the person kept singing the song and it was as if the shark said, ‘I may eat you, but, give me a few more verses of that song.”

The stories were well-timed and humorous, but the music was clearly why everyone came to watch Mr. Hay perform (even though his stories could have carried a separate performance in and of itself), and the tunes were wonderful.

Hay toggled between old Solo material, Men at Work music, and work off his newest album Gathering Mercury. The mix included “Who Can it Be Now,” “Send Somebody,” “Maggie,” etc. and then a 4-song conclusion that, like a molten chocolate cake, closed out the night with perfection. This included my favorite Hay piece, “Waiting for my Real Life to Begin” and an excellent, picked version of “Overkill.”

A performance from Maine in 2010. Hay finished off the show with a song he and Ham wrote and it, as anticipated, started a wonderful sing along. Here is “Be Good Johnny.”

Before I post this, I want to post one more story that Hay told that I thought was hilarious. He talked of how he became friends with Paul McCartney when he was performing his solo material in California. Growing up idolizing the Beatles, this was quite extraordinary for Hay. He tells the story of McCartney coming over for dinner and how he had two moments to himself during the night. The first was when McCartney arrived and Hay couldn’t believe Paul McCartney was in his driveway. The second was after dinner, when McCartney took the dishes into the kitchen and started running them under water, sparking the realization that Paul McCartney was doing his dishes.

🙂 – One more for good measure. Here is “Beautiful World”

Weekend Concert Preview – Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

26 Apr

Wrong day and Year!

Don’t worry, I will not make you suffer through the Meatloaf song that shares the name of the title of this post. That’s mean. I actually don’t mind Meatloaf. Yes, he is corny, but he does have a great voice. Great! A completely off-topic opening. Okay, let’s shake it off and get to the main posts.

The purpose of this post is to produce a schedule that I promise I will follow to a tee. I haven’t been great about setting a blogging schedule for myself and following it but I promise to stick to this plan…mostly!

This involves delaying the two-week new band splurge. I will most likely begin this early next week (probably Tuesday). There are a good amount of bands that I will be profiling so make sure to tune in for that. Why should you view the blog prior to this? Concert reviews! Two of them.

Like I said yesterday, I will have the pleasure of seeing former Men At Work crooner Colin Hay tomorrow. I jumped on the opportunity to buy tickets to this New York City show. While Men at Work is what he may be known for (“Down Under” was a huge international hit), Hay has released 11 solo studio albums, the most recentGathering Mercuryin 2011. Through this, he has developed a unique sound that blends 80’s World Music with acoustic easy-listening. It is his voice, though, that is most attractive. Hay’s voice is soothing with great range. He is also a gifted lyricist – laid back and intelligent.

I have to thank Zach Braff for my introduction to Colin Hay. I believe Hay gathered many fans this way. Braff, who knows good acoustic music, featured his music (and him – see video below) on “Scrubs” and his music was disseminated from there. Take a listen to “Overkill” while watching a funny performance from “Scrubs.” Don’t you just love the media age? I know Colin Hay does. The video has more than 3 million views.

The Left Banke follows Sunday which I am very excited about. This reunion should be excellent and I wrote about it a little while ago. Read this and look forward to two concert reviews soon! https://musiccourtblog.com/2012/02/22/the-left-banke-ask-renee-to-walk-away-again/

Lyric of the Day? Colin Hay Can See a Very Long Way

24 Jan

Colin Hay

Colin Hay has come a long way since co-forming and providing lead vocals for the men down under Men at Work in the 1980s. But you know what they say (okay, I don’t think anyone says this), a good vocalist is always appreciated in the music community. That is not so much an aphorism, but rather a fact that I hope to be true. For Hay, it is very true.

Hay has Zach Braff (who played J.D. in the popular medical comedy “Scrubs”) for a career revitalization. Braff is one of those guys who appreciates a good vocalist. He started using Hay’s solo material – which is a delicate blend of acoustic rhythm, deeply emotion lyric, and somber vocal splendor, in his work. Since a lot of young folk like Braff (and a lot of people in general loved “Scrubs”), Hay’s music suddenly found a new, younger group of listeners, like myself. I knew of Men at Work, but, I did not know of Colin Hay until I heard “Overkill” on “Scrubs.”

I was hooked. I did have in mind far loftier goals for a post today, but I have been quite busy. This, though, will certainly do. While I have not published a Lyric of the Day in what seems like forever, I think that some lines from “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin,” one of my favorite songs by Hay, would be appreciated by the masses. I am going to see Colin Hay at Town Hall in NYC in April, by the way, and I am PSYCHED!

This song was in “Scrubs” in case you were going, “where have I heard this song before.” My favorite lyrical part of this song is the beginning.

“Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
I’ll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down, down, down, on me

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in
But don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin”

Just listen to the song and let the waves crash down on you. The song touches on a hint of a grand existential wait. It does seem that our protagonist will forever be by the shore waiting for his ship to come in, but, perhaps there is some peace in this situation – some beauty in the monotony. Or, perhaps, I have been reading too much Camus. Any which way, please enjoy this song!

Colin Hay Sings of a Beautiful World

14 Sep

Not often does an artist succesfully travel from an accomplished band into the world of solo recordings. Colin Hay is an exception to the rule. The one-time lead-vocalist of the men down under, Men at Work, has released several solo albums since the late 80’s and his status as incredible singer/songwriter goes unquestioned. His Scottish/Australian vocal flavor, tremendous range, and passionate lyric and guitar work makes Hay an acoustic force and he releases great content time and time again.

Many may know Hay from the TV series “Scrubs,” where he contributed music to a series of episodes and made on-camera performances. If you are a “Scrubs” fan you will certainly recognize this song:

My favorite song by Hay is “Beautiful World.” I love it because of its sincere simplicity and imperturable message. The song also provides some apt lyrics that are timeless. He describes how there are great negatives in the world, but one must learn to appreciate the niceties of life because, hey, “perhaps this is as good as it gets.” He also uses lapsang souchong in his lyric, and anyone who uses this popular tea leaf in a song succesfully deserves some credit. The song’s melody is soft and Hay gives it just enough of a taste of smokiness. That actually sounds like lapsang souchong tea. So, listen to this song while enjoying some tea.

Another recording I’d like to share with you from Hay is a cover of “Norwegian Wood” he recently recorded at a session with Rolling Stone magazine. It’s so beautifully stripped down and it’s bare acoustic style is inviting. I could listen to Hay sing and play guitar for hours. It is that relaxing. Enjoy and have a beautiful day in the beautiful world.

Hay’s new album Gathering Mercury was released earlier this year and it definitely deserves a listen. Check out more from Hay at his website

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