Brave New World
Bill Haymes is an acoustic pop/folk singer-songwriter who is a seasoned performer and a writer of powerful, imagistic songs. A life-long student of psychology and sociology, Bill is interested in exploring and illuminating the questions, choices, and situations that accompany people throughout their lives...and is curious about the relationships they choose and create. In his own words, 'I try to write literate, honest, and insightful songs. All of them are ultimately about finding one's way in the modern world. Walking the balance beam. Feeling what is there. Not falling into fear.' His primary instrument is piano, his secondary, guitar. The writer for Uncle Calvin's Concert Series (Dallas, TX) said of his music '[Bill]...adds superb piano and guitar to imagery so strong you'll forget you're sitting inside a building, and makes you celebrate just being alive.' Bill has toured twice in South America, been a guest on Garrison Keillor's 'A Prairie Home Companion,' been a featured guest on Tom May's nationally-syndicated 'River City Folk' three different times, played at hundreds of colleges in 37 North American states, and given five main-stage performances at the Kerrville Folk Festival. His newest of five recordings is entitled 'Brave New World' on A Major Label Records. In addition to being a formidable writer, Bill Haymes is a well-traveled, masterful performer. One audience member wrote, '[He] conveys total ease with himself and his audience. With his music and musings, he draws the audience into an easy, comfortable intimacy with him. It is less a performance (canned presentation) and more a friendly interaction featuring music, personal anecdotes, and readings. It's the feel of morning coffee with a friend. An entertaining, relaxing interlude...' Raised on a small Missouri dairy farm, Bill Haymes remembers weekly family get-togethers as the beginning of his musical education. His grandfather was a fiddle player, his uncles guitar and banjo players. The song selection at the family jam sessions was eclectic, he remembers--'From 'Blue Hawaii' we might dive into the lively 'Tiger Rag,' then perhaps over to the jaunty hoe-down tune 'Pig Ankles,' or slightly sideways into 'Shanty in Old Shanty Town.' ' From the family musical sessions to high school rock and roll bands, Haymes honed his instrumental and vocal techniques, and increased his ability to relate to audiences. Playing his own music publicly came later, while he was at Rice University in Houston, TX, majoring in history, with a minor in behavioral sciences. He began performing in college and commercial coffeehouses, and meeting other emerging songwriters such as Don Sanders and Vince Bell. (Later, again in Houston, he became acquainted with Lynn Langham, Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith, and Bill Staines, and performed in the same venues as they.) Bill first began writing songs that reflected some of the protest feeling of the era, focusing on conflicts between the individual and society. He recorded an album while still in college, entitled 'I Shall Be Released,' featuring five original songs, and six others. After graduating from Rice, he moved to Maryland and continued playing the college coffeehouse circuit there, as well as in Texas and the mid-west. He started playing music full-time, further developing his easy rapport with audiences, and refining his songwriting. In the earliest years of his professional career, he used only the guitar in his performances; he would not play piano on stage. ('This was a hold-over of fear generated during my years of playing solo piano pieces in stifling, tension-filled elementary and high school recitals,' Haymes explained. 'As an adult, my hands would still shake when I attempted to play a song on the piano, for a live audience.') Unwilling to be limited to just one instrument in live performances, Haymes gradually overcame his residual fear by forcing himself to play at least one song on piano in every show. He slowly increased the number of pieces he performed on piano, until he felt equally at home on either piano or guitar. During his east coast years in the 1970's, Bill recorded his second album in Baltimore, MD, 'Bill Haymes - USA,' featuring many songs written about his experiences on the road - observations on love, fidelity, wisdom, continuity and change. He made his first trip to the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1976, and was a New Folk winner there. After several years, he left the east and moved to more familiar (and centralized) territory, relocating to Little Rock, AR, only a few hours' drive from his boyhood home in Missouri. He continued working and writing, putting together a solid career as a touring musician, playing colleges, house concerts, and coffeehouses. Starting at that time and continuing to the present, Bill also worked teaching children the aspects of songwriting, as an artist in the NEA-funded Artists-in-Education program. Annually, he taught a psychology-based class at a summer enrichment program for gifted teenagers, called the Arkansas Governor's School (and gave a concert for the students there). Starting in 1982, Bill became a featured artist in the Starlight Concert Series, presenting six to eight outdoor concerts each summer in Arkansas state parks. Also in this time period, he did two two-week tours in South America, under a cultural exchange program, Partners of the Americas. The music Bill heard while playing in Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay began to subtly influence his own writing and playing. In 1988, he produced his third full-length recording, 'Anima / Ocean.' The South American influences are present in several of the guitar-based songs on this album. One of his most romantic recordings, this album was funded in part by a Composer's Fellowship awarded to Bill by the Arkansas Arts Council in 1986. In 1993, he produced his first compact disc, entitled 'Out Into The Light,' featuring twelve original songs. In addition to receiving airplay on a number of mid-west and east coast radio stations, it was selected by Performing Songwriter Magazine as one of the their 'Top 12 Independent Recordings' of that year. In 1997, Bill Haymes added momentum to his career by relocating to Nashville, TN, and engaging more in the Dance of the Music Business. He continues to tour nationally, as well as performing in his new hometown, at the Bluebird Cafe and other venues. Of his own music, Bill Haymes says, 'I love imagistic, impressionistic lyrics and strong melodies. If you listen to 'All Things Considered' or 'Car Talk' on NPR, if you read books by Douglas Adams, C.G. Jung, or Thomas Perry, if you like the thoughtful songs of Leonard Cohen, or Jackson Browne, or the wryly humorous ones of Jill Sobule or Emily Kaitz, if 'Harold & Maude' is one of your favorite movies, and if you marvel at the extreme range of attitudes and behaviors of which humans are capable...then you'll probably like my music.' QUOTES 'Bill Haymes is one of those rare performers who can walk onto a stage and immediately make the audience feel as if they are right at home. He's the guy down the street who walked into their kitchen to borrow a clove of garlic, and ended up talking about why men don't like to use combs, the poem he wrote last week about the moon, and his last three ex-girlfriends. In between, of course, he plays beautiful songs on the piano and guitar. And then he talks about the suitcase he took to Paris, and his tour of Arkansas State Parks. And then he sings a song written by fifth graders about dinosaurs and breakfast foods. It's impossible not to laugh, not to feel relaxed, and be reminded of the wonder and beauty of human life, even with all it's imperfections.' Emily Kaitz 'Bill...adds superb piano and guitar to imagery so strong you'll forget you're sitting inside a building, and makes you celebrate just being alive.' -Uncle Calvin's, Dallas, TX '...'Brave New World,' is as open and enticing a musical work as you are likely to find. The honest presence of Bill's delivery is disarming, and the recording is absolutely transparent. He might as well be in the room with you.' -Hugh Moffatt. Singer/songwriter 'Haymes' January concert showcased his talent for blending the analytical and the emotional.' -Spectrum Weekly, Little Rock AR 'His wit and whimsy, emotional explorations and analysis, philosophy and grace on stage are unique with the genre.' -Tom Noe, Acoustic Concert Tours, Wylie, TX 'Bill...has a finely polished voice...and an amazing on-the-spot wit and rapport with his audiences.' -Crow Johnson, singer/songwriter 'Bill Haymes is one of the funniest songwriters I know. He is always finding a way to make light of the most serious subjects ('I Live Alone' 'I'm Driving my Therapist's Convertible Car'). There is nothing more healing than a good laugh and he usually has me holding my stomach while laughing at myself and those I know so well. Especially in the world of songwriters, where everything is so painstakingly worked overn until the writer feels the message is recorded perfectly - Bill's wizardry is a breath of fresh humor!' -Linda Lowe, Songwriter/Producer, Houston Writers in the Round 'I try to write literate, honest, and insightful songs. All of them are ultimately about finding one's way in the modern world. Walking the balance beam. Feeling what is there. Not falling into fear.' -Bill Haymes.