Listeners seeking an alternative to over-hyped music scene wannabes should look no further than Michigan’s Vincent Hayes. His guitar-driven rock, blues and funk-fueled anthems are as real and gritty as it gets, with infectious hooks, potent messages and honest-to-the-core vocals.
– John Sinkevics, LocalSpins.com
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.”
– John Sinkevics, LocalSpins.com