My Claim To Fame
Move The Needle Music
Upstate New York’s Mick Hayes was gifted his first guitar by his parents when he was only seven. By the time he was twenty he was a member, and songwriting contributor, to the Buffalo based band “Only Human” who opened for both Marshall Tucker and Molly Hatchet. Hayes left to form the Mick Hayes band in 2003 and went onto compete in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The band toured with Nigel Mack and The Blues Attack; relocated to Atlanta, and released a successful EP, before splitting up. Hayes became a solo artist, spending time in Los Angeles and appearing on American Idol.
Eventually Hayes returned to Upstate New York and reformed the band. With a modern Blues sound the band earned numerous Buffalo Music Awards and opened for Dave Mason, Robin Trower, and Dickie Betts. In 2008 the band released their full length self-titled album. Several other releases followed.
Possessed with a nearly pitch perfect voice Hayes continued his love affair with the rhythm and blues of Sam and Dave, Solomon Burke and Wilson Pickett. His musical journey took him to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record “My Claim To Fame” at the historic Fame Studios; originally founded by Rick Hall in 1959. The band includes Hayes, lead guitar and vocals; Clayton Ivey, piano and organ; Bob Wray, bass; Justin Holder, drums and percussion; and the horn section of Brad Guin, saxophones and flute; and Vinnie Ciesielski, trumpet and Flugelhorn. Also featured are the Shoals Sisters, Marie Lewey and Cindy Walker, who have been the studio’s backing singers for the last forty years. All of the tracks are written and produced by Hayes.
Hayes opens with “Sweet To Me” a Steely Dan inspired song with the lyric “she’s the first girl in my life that makes me feel complete, she’s my mistress and my wife, and she is sweet to me”; featured is Hayes infectious vocal, rhythm and lead guitar solos, Wray’s bass, and the background vocalists chiming “my baby’s sweet”. The horns are fabulous here and throughout the recording. “Hand Me Down 45’s” is a traditional soul shuffle, and story about Hayes parent’s record collection and the inspiration acquired. The band is expanded on “Parking Lot Romance” by rhythm guitarist Will McFarlane and two additional horn players, Ken Watters, trumpet; and Billy Bargetzi, trombone. The added horn players appear again on “Ramona” which also sounds like Steely Dan. “Political Funk” is a timely tune that combines 60’s soul and 70’s funk, with the lyric “look at this world at the end of the day, we can’t love each other when we keep fighting this way…it’s just governmental junk”.
“No Second Chances” is well written and styled like a Curtis Mayfield song, “I’m in a melancholy mood ‘cause I got you on my mind, I feeling kinda used and drunk all she finds…and I made up my mind I’m not wastin’ my time, you took me for granted…there’s no second chances”; Hayes’ passionate solo closes this fabulous production. “Autumn Romance” features some California styled harmony aided by backing singers Lewey and Walker. Hayes’ closes with a ballad, “The Saddest Picture of Me”.
This fabulous recording should further establish Hayes. The Muscle Shoals sound, in combination with other influences, make this the year’s best independently produced album.