What happens when you combine early rock, old-school country music and Americana music? Why you get Girls, Guns and Glory — a quartet of musicians from Boston lead by Ward Hayden who are on tour in support of their newest album, “Sweet Nothings” and who were the Boston Music Awards 2011 winner for Americana Artist of the Year (they have recently been nominated for a fifth award in the Live Artist of the Year category). Just back from a tour to France and Spain and back to the Northeast, Hayden called from his Boston home and the lead singer/acoustic guitar player chatted about his group’s upcoming show at Waterville’s Mainely Brews Friday, Jan. 25.
Q: I see by the itinerary that you sent up that you’ve done some touring overseas. Have you ever played at Mainely Brews before?
Hayden: We have not, actually. This is going to be our first time up in the area, but it’s not our first time in Maine. We’ve come up there maybe four times a year — two times to Portland and then we usually get in a ski gig somewhere or we’ll come up and play private parties. Somebody had seen us somewhere and hired us to play at their summer shindig or something like that.
Q: Now to help me prepare for this interview you sent up a copy of your 2009 CD “Inverted Valentine” … is that album fairly indicative of what your group sounds like in a live setting?
Hayden: I think that it is, yes. We had an album that came out last year called “Sweet Nothings” and so the best representation of the band is definitely “Inverted Valentine” and “Sweet Nothings” — we ran out of copies of the latter but will have some when we get back on the road hopefully. Those two most recent albums really capture more of the sound that we’ve been working towards refining. That blend of country music and early rock and roll. You know, in commercial music rockability is sort of the kiss of death, but it’s really one of the coolest forms of American music. It found its way in so much music especially like Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and a lot of the music that came out of Memphis and Sun Studios that went on to influence everything under the sun that we now call rock and roll. It doesn’t get heralded as much as some of the other genres.
Q: Is the line-up that’s on “Inverted Valentine” the same one as the band nowadays?
Hayden: That’s the original line-up of the band and to date the only guy that’s left is me. The rest of the guys are great guys but the only one who wanted to do music full-time and tour was me. I rebuilt the band with friends that I’ve met here in Boston and all the current guys all attended Berkeley, the New England Conservatory or the drummer who actually went to UMass for percussion — for all of them, music was their plan A.
Q: Who is in your band now?
Hayden: Well, it’s me and then Chris Hersch on lead guitar, Paul Dilley on upright bass and electric bass and then Josh Kiggans is on drums.
Q: Do any of these gentlemen sing, as well?
Hayden: Chris and Paul both contribute background vocals.
Q: Now when did “Sweet Nothings” come out?
Hayden: In August of 2011.
Q: Are you working on something new now?
Hayden: We actually are — we’ve started our next album. We’re recording it in New York City with Eric Ambel. He’s Steve Earl’s guitar player and used to be one of the Blackhearts with Joan Jett. We started working with Eric about four months ago and we’re really hoping to get the rest of the recording underway in February. If all goes according to plan then we can start mixing, mastering and maybe even have an album by the summer of this year.
Q: Is there anything, Ward, that you’d like to have passed on to the folks reading this “What’s Happening” article about your impending area debut on the 25th of January?
Hayden: Sure, for anybody interested in live music we certainly try to put on a show that provides variety and touches on a variety of genres that fall under the umbrella of Americana music; but it is that classic country sound that we do a lot in the vein of Hank Williams including a lot of the music of Hank Williams. It’s really a blend of that classic rock and roll sound of Little Richard, Chuck Berry even Elvis Presley. We try to grab all of our influences — sprinkle the sets with some covers of songs of others as well as a lot of material of our own.
Lucky Clark has spent over four decades writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.