Q&A with Hadden Sayers - raised on a steady diet of Texas Roots and Blues music, has become a Blues Rock Master.

"I miss the idiosyncrasies in peoples playing and singing. Nowaday's any quirks that an artist has can be smoothed over with a couple of pro-tools edits. I miss the weirdness. Carolyn Wonderland once told me that people's goofiness is their most interesting quality. I believe that."

Hadden Sayers: Dopamine Machine

Veteran Texas singer, songwriter and guitarist Hadden Sayers' new release, "Acoustic Dopamine," is a rare treat, a companion album that offers a different take on the songs from his concurrent release "Dopamine Machine." Sayers' ninth album, is harder blues-rock than anything he’s done in a long time. But each song had so much to say that Sayers sat on his bed with a 1954 Gibson acoustic and rearranged the whole album as a solo acoustic set, then took it into the studio to make a raw, pure version of "Dopamine Machine." Assisted only by Ruthie Foster, who lent her voice to the gorgeous duet “Waiting Wanting,” and a friend who played percussion, the album is a stripped-down set that captures the emotional intensity of each song. While "Dopamine Machine" is for driving down the freeway with the band, windows down and stereo cranked, "Acoustic Dopamine" is for traveling alone down a deserted highway all night long.

Born in Nacogdoches and raised on a steady diet of Texas Roots and Blues music, Hadden Sayers has become a Blues Rock Master. Millions of miles of touring the world and 9 albums in, Sayers' rise has been anything but meteoric. It's been a consistent and steady ascent to a level of expertise that few achieve. His albums “Dopamine Machine” & "Acoustic Dopamine" (2018) is the next level. 11 songs performed in both full band and solo acoustic arrangements...proving that Sayers' songwriting stands up to reinterpretation and begs for more. Let the rise continue....DOPAMINE MACHINE!

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself and some of the most important lessons from your paths in blues rock scene?

As with any musical scene probably...I try to focus on the songs and sound I'm creating and not get into trying to compete with other artists or emulate them. The biggest lesson for me is that I need to be true to myself...even though the genre has a tendency to reward competition.

How do you describe your songbook and sound? Where does your creative drive come from?

My songwriting style is based a lot on classic country forms... Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard...with a heavy dose of blues guitar throughout.  My singing style is from the Sam Cooke, Otis Redding approach. My creative drive is internal. I've wanted to write since I was little...before I could sing or play. 

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

My biggest mentors have been Dru Wilson (Austin, TX), Bert Wills (Gulf Coast guitar legend) and Jimmy Thackery (you know him). Dru is a great songwriter who taught me songwriting is MANDATORY. Bert Wills is the most authentic guitarist I know. He taught me by example. Jimmy Thackery is a monster. He has a huge heart. He taught me how to mentor younger players. Best advice I ever got was to send thank you notes whenever possible.

Why did you think that the Texas Blues Rock music continues to generate such a devoted following?

I'm not sure it does. Musical genres are so splintered now its hard to tell.  Gary Clark Jr. seems to have a lot of fans though (rightfully so, he's great).  Go Gary go!

"As with any musical scene probably...I try to focus on the songs and sound I'm creating and not get into trying to compete with other artists or emulate them. The biggest lesson for me is that I need to be true to myself...even though the genre has a tendency to reward competition."

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss the idiosyncrasies in peoples playing and singing. Nowaday's any quirks that an artist has can be smoothed over with a couple of pro-tools edits. I miss the weirdness. Carolyn Wonderland once told me that people's goofiness is their most interesting quality. I believe that.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

Auto-tuning vocals would be outlawed. The rest would take care of itself.

What touched (emotionally) you from the acoustic sound? What is the difference between: electric and acoustic 'feeling'?

When I play acoustic I showcase my singing and my lyrics. Electric I showcase the composition, band interplay and soloists.  Electric its like we're shouting. Acoustic I feel like I'm whispering in your ear.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I'd like to go to New York City in the early '30s. I had a great uncle (my grandfather's brother) who played piano and lived there. I'd like to know him for a day in depression-era NYC.

Hadden Sayers - Home

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