2014 Jammie Award Recipient, Best Blues/Soul Album
2011 Blues Music Award Nominee - Best New Artist
2011 Blues Blast Nominee - Best New Artist, Sean Costello Rising Star Award
2011 Jammie Award Recipient - Best Album, Best Group, Best Blues/Soul Album, Producer (Glenn Brown)
2011 Jammie Award Nominee - Song of The Year
"Hayes is a smart guy with a fresh approach to songwriting from which other lyricists would do well to draw inspiration. His solos and vocals are impassioned and burn with the heat of a man who has walked through fire. His fat Fender tones and flowing fretwork conjures the spirit of Stevie Ray the way Stevie tipped his hat to Albert King and Lonnie Mack. The Grind should solidify his position as a rising force in the blues and blues-rock pantheon."
-Blues Blast Magazine, May 6, 2014
Vincent Hayes writes songs with purpose and fire – musical tales that raise questions, present possibilities and take listeners to gritty, real and inspiring places.
“There’s a direct link between the stories and feelings conveyed in these songs and what I observe in the world,” the award-winning West Michigan guitarist and singer insists. “I hope what people get from my music is blatant honesty that doesn’t separate, but creates a connection within that experience so they can take that with them into their life. That's good art to me. Good music.”
Not that Hayes isn’t the consummate entertainer: As he puts it on the genre-bending opening track of his masterful, guitar-driven new album, “The Grind,” he’s a graduate of the “give it all that you’ve got” school of live shows, making him an in-demand performer, who has won crowds over as a support act for artists including the Steve Miller Band, Martin Sexton, Ludacris, and more. Most recently he and his band (formerly known as The Vincent Hayes Project), were honored with an invitation to warm up the stage for the “King of the Blues” himself, BB King, at the the prestigious Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI. Just a few weeks later they found themselves in their first official “headliner” slot on a triple bill with blues legend Buddy Guy, and blues/rock hero Jonny Lang at the 2013 Coast West Festival, where they quickly gained the favor of the crowd of 9,000 rock and blues fans.
With a penetrating, blues-infused guitar style steeped in the tradition of diverse influences such as Peter Green, Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Prince, The Edge, Buddy Guy, and Chuck Berry– not to mention his own father and grandfather – the singer adroitly straddles roots rock, funk, blues and soul on “The Grind,” produced by renowned live sound engineer Bill Chrysler (John Mayer, Paul McCartney, Eagles, Ray Lamontagne, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Justin Timberlake) at Michigan’s Redwall North Studios, with assistance from Joe Sturgill and Hayes on co-production duties. The disc was mastered by Grammy winning engineer Brian Lucey (Black Keys-“Brothers”, “El Camino”) at Magic Garden Mastering in Columbus, OH.
The dusky, muscular and grab-you-by-the-throat tracks represent the follow-up to 2010’s highly acclaimed “Reclamation” album, which earned Hayes and his band mates international recognition, and quickly shot to the “Top 20” position on the Living Blues global blues radio chart, and a #4 ranking as a favorite on BB King's Bluesville on Sirius/XM Channel 70. Within ten months of it's release, the disc had garnered two Blues Blast Nominations (Best New Artist, Sean Costello Rising Star), received four WYCE Jammie Awards (Album of The Year, Best Band, Blues Album), and a Jammie Nomination for “Song of The Year”, culminating with a prestigious 2011 Blues Music Music Award nomination by The Blues Foundation for “Best New Artist”. Real Blues Magazine also voted Reclamation as #77 of the Top 200 CD's of 2009-2010, and by the end of 2011 the disc had seen airplay on nearly 450 stations in 10 countries. Not bad for a guy from West Michigan, who just three years earlier got his first break with his band in 2007 backing up counter culture legend John Sinclair, on a Midwest tour.
“It’s dark, murky and an honest look into the way we exist in today's world, and the questions many of us wake up with every day, and some of us are afraid to ask ourselves” Hayes says of the new album. “The blues is in everything I do, but I've got to write the music I've got to write, and sometimes it's not the blues, nor rock, or whatever. You know, just let music be music, not necessarily defined by a genre or expectations of what that music should or should not be. “Reclamation” was me saying to the blues world, “here I am”, The Grind is more like the bridge to where I'm going.”
He pulls it off with aplomb, churning out edgy funk on “Cold Feet,” retro-flavored soulful blues on “My Guitar and My Baby,” and a foreboding rock-guitar sizzle on songs like “Common Vision” and “The Gun”, and the smoky, lyrically charged “Things That Get Me By.” In addition to eight Hayes originals, an interpretive cover of Marvin Gaye's 1971 classic “Inner Blues” was chosen because as Hayes states, “that song is still every bit as relevant today, but now it's affecting everyone at some level. It was a hit on the radio when I came into this world, and has had special meaning to me throughout my adult life.” The disc closes with “Not Tonight”, a collaborative song penned by fellow West Michigan songwriter Joel Toppen, and arranged by Hayes and the band.
“I've never intended to have the same sound from one release to the next,” says Hayes. I love the guitar, but there are enough guitar heroes out there. I’d rather give people good songs and music that they still want to sing five years later than a flurry of meaningless notes that are impressive in the moment, but easy to forget after the iPod is shut off.”
With “The Grind,” Hayes has done that and more, uncorking powerful, heartfelt tracks with a message, and his most compelling music yet.
-John Sinkevics, LocalSpins.com