On Hey Love, Hayden’s eighth full-length record, the Toronto musician and songwriter writes the most intimate passage yet in his decades-deep story. The follow-up to 2013’s Us Alone, his sonically warm and emotive debut record on Arts & Crafts, is a heartrending love letter of hope and disarray. Hey Love addresses the widest spectrum of love as its muse, the album’s thirteen songs among Hayden Desser’s most affective, tactile, rousing yet restrained work to date. The title track, a languid anthem exposed by chiming pedal steel, introduces this dialogue – about loves both comfortable and disconnected, exhilarating and naive –with Hayden’s woozy pre-dawn falsetto propped up by a watchful chorus. Whether to his loyal listeners or to a lovely subject, Hayden sings plaintively: “It’s been so rough, we have been through more than enough / But without this love, there would be no reason for either of us.” On Hey Love’s first single “Nowhere We Cannot Go”, triumphant piano mingles with tattered synthesizer and electric guitar, conjuring love’s boundless resilience from the throes of personal reckoning. Both familiar and new, “Nowhere That We Cannot Go” places us on the rickety frontier of Hayden’s home studio, where the certainty of pain and reward both figure prominently on the horizon. No clearer is this heard than on “Troubled Times”, with its brilliant juxtaposition of the apocalypse-in-progress (“If it’s not one thing it is another / These are sure troubled times”) against a lilting backbeat and a soulful sun-soaked shuffle.
From the arresting low register of his 1996 arrival, Everything I Long For, through the enigmatic Skyscraper National Park (2001), and the steadfastly fragile Elk-Lake Serenade (2004), Hayden has woven one of the most consistentthrough-lines of musical narrative imaginable, leading his audience through a scrapbook of downtimes fought and resolved, love lost and love solved. Hey Love is a snapshot of this relationship: Hayden at his most prolific, and perhaps Hayden at his most celebrated.
Hey Love arrives only two years afterhis last release, on the inspiration of Dream Serenade: Hayden and wife Christie Greyerbiehl’s inaugural benefit for Toronto’s Beverley St. School for developmentally disabled children (October 2014 at Massey Hall). The albumwas performed and produced almost entirely by Hayden at his Toronto home studio, Skyscraper National Park. Additional recordings took place at Revolution Studio in Toronto with contributions from his live band featuring Jay McCarrol, Taylor Knox, and JJ Ipsen. The foursome hits the road with Dan Mangan + Blacksmith in February with Hey Love hitting streets on March 24, 2015.