Girls Guns and Glory
Girls Guns and Glory
Wide open. Laugh, cry, love, fall down, get back up – that's living.” To see Girls Guns and Glory live is to experience what Ward is talking about. His "get out there and live it" attitude is as palpable in the band's stage presence as it is in the artfulness of the music itself. Urgent.
Honest. Real. This isn't something you can get out of a can, it comes from the heart and soul. So naturally the band turned heads at last year’s Americana Music Association showcase in Nashville, including the head of Lonesome Day Records, Randall Deaton.
Lonesome Day signed the band shortly thereafter. The band's live performances evoke a rare combination of chemistry, artistry, talent, and raw guts that transcend musical genres as well as generations of musical styles. The Boston Globe said of the band’s AMA performance, “Girls Guns and Glory delivered a graceful, sturdy set of Buddy Holly-meets-Buck Owens twang ‘n’ roll that translated to the night’s most sublime performance. Singer-guitarist Ward Hayden has the pillowy voice of a ’50s pin-up star — the constant comparisons to crooners like Chris Isaak and Lyle Lovett are well-deserved — and his band’s amber-soaked melodies, tight musicianship, and casual elegance were a tonic to an evening.” The Boston Herald said “Imagine Lyle Lovett and Chris Isaak paying tribute to classic American rock n’ roll from Elvis, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison.” Heady comparisons, yet these exact influences and more are apparent as the band smokes through its set with reckless abandon, effortlessly combining swing jams, punk beats, rockabilly stomps, mariachi trumpets and more into one cohesive voice. A voice that grabs you by the pants, tosses you to the dance floor, tugs at your heart but shakes your soul, and does it all with a silky smooth, soulful, lover’s touch. Ward, Mike, Chris and Paul confess to a roster of musical heroes that reads like the Masters of American Music.
Names like Johnny Cash. Hank Williams Sr., Bob Dylan. Even the Beatles earn honorary American status here. As New England natives, the members of Girls Guns and Glory pride themselves in being difficult to pigeonhole into musical stereotypes. “Who wants to look at a picture painted with just one color? Whether it’s roots music, folk, blues, country, rock, jazz, or whatever, good music is good music” says Ward. With the comparisons to Chris Isaak and Lyle Lovett, it may seem odd that Ward almost missed becoming a singer/songwriter at all.
He was on his way to becoming a teacher, in fact, when his life took a very different turn courtesy of an Oldsmobile ’88 that had only a cassette player for entertainment. Driving across the country in the car, Ward kept boredom at bay by listening to the only cassettes he had available: his mother’s country music. “I was into rock – punk and hardcore and noise you weren’t going to hear on the radio – but when I heard Johnny Cash for the first time? I was absolutely floored. I could not believe I hadn’t found this music before.” From the Man in Black, Ward expanded to Hank Williams, Junior. Junior became Ward's gateway to Hank Williams Senior, and after that, Ward's addiction was full blown. “From a songwriter’s and singer’s perspective, Hank Williams was the best I had ever heard.
I became a student of what he did and was all about, and there’s a certain amount of romanticism to his life and death that I found magnetic. Like he says, ‘everybody loves to feel sorry for themselves.’ I think I really connected to that attitude and his delivery very deeply. Hank Williams wrote about the things he knew, so he was very true to himself, and nothing about those songs was contrived or flashy. Every word he sang rings true, because he delivered it all so well, so honestly, and made it so real.” The band’s formation was a happy accident born out of tragedy.
Ward grew up singing in church and school, but hadn’t thought about performing music seriously until a friend of his tragically passed away after college. Ward was asked to write a song for the memorial service, and that turned into an entire tribute performance. Taking what was good about that experience to heart, within six months Ward had decided to make an entire record. “In October of 2005, I did some handyman jobs for a guy in exchange for some time in his studio, and Girls Guns and Glory released our first album, Fireworks and Alcohol, a few months later.” After that, Girls Guns and Glory began performing steadily in the New England club circuit, picking up steam when their second album, Pretty Little Wrecking Ball, was released two years later. Wrecking Ball got the band radio exposure, and they earned two Boston Phoenix awards and a Boston Music Award for Outstanding Americana Act of the Year. The present-day line-up of Girls Guns and Glory includes Michael Calabrese on drums, Chris Hersch on banjo and guitar, and Paul Dilley on upright and electric bass.
Currently on the road touring their fourth album titled Inverted Valentine and in the studio recording their fifth, the band has not only musically matured, but has a mountain of new material to work with, much of it inspired by the demise of Ward’s long-term relationship. “When my relationship ended, all of a sudden I found a wealth of feelings and emotions that I was able to tap into.” And tap into them he did. Songs like “Keep On Calling,” “Only One Thing,” and “Baby You’re A Dog” reveal a razor’s-edge honesty and wit that suggest Ward slashed a vein more than once to bleed all over this record. The album was the last one made in his hometown before moving on and is full of the reckless abandon that comes from telling it like it is and then getting the hell out. “All these songs came out of that tumultuous period… a lot of it comes from small-town living and the experiences that come along with feeling like you’re trapped, living in a confined environment.
Some are about getting out and getting over bad relationships as well as trying to find ways out of bad situations. Pouring all that emotional energy into these songs is, well, a great way to learn and grow from the experience. “But good times or bad, I think our philosophy all comes back to our name,” Ward says. “Being Girls, Guns and Glory helps me remember that vision of the schoolmarm and her shotgun. So I guess the band's name is sort of my version of carpe diem, it reminds me that if we don't get out there and live our lives, wide open, then we're going to miss out.” Read more on Last.fm.
User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more