By: Mark Hayden
I grew up in the '70s and '80s listening to acts like The Allman Brothers, .38 Special, Alabama, and The Charlie Daniels Band. I was always really intrigued by how these musicians were graying the lines between rock and roll and country. I've always been a huge fan of both styles of music which probably comes from the fact that I am the youngest of five children.
I was pretty heavily influenced by my older siblings, who were listening to everything from James Taylor to Led Zeppelin on the one hand, and by my mother, who was a huge country music fan, on the other. It wasn't at all uncommon in our home on the west side of Indianapolis to go from one room hearing Seals and Crofts, while Aerosmith blared from another. All the while, out into the kitchen Mom would be listening to George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Pride or Merle Haggard while working around the house.
I guess it's no surprise that my own style is a strong blend of these two genres. I definitely tend to gravitate towards a country-crossover mix reminiscent of many of these acts.
I guess the other thing is that I grew up around a lot of musicians … cousins, aunts, uncles … there were a lot of musicians in the family. My oldest sister has a beautiful singing voice and we'd sit trading off singing one song after the other. It seems like most, if not all, of our family gatherings centered on music. There were never any fewer than three or four guitars around and someone would pick one up and play and sing late into the night and sometimes into the next morning.
So, I began singing and playing the guitar at a very early age and by my mid-teens, I was playing with other musicians around the area. I continued to develop as a guitar player, a singer and a performer throughout my teens and into my 20s and, when we relocated back to Cincinnati in 1991 after I got out of the U.S. Navy, I just continued to play and enjoy the music I'd grown up with.
It has now evolved into the current project, The Mark Hayden Band. It's been an amazing journey to say the least, but being a part-time musician doesn't come without its' challenges. You always want to maintain a quality sound and a unique sound, and that requires a level of dedication, patience and selflessness.
And that is not just on my part, but on the part of the full-time musicians I tend to work with. In fact, it's mainly these people that have to really have a lot of patience. I suppose it's a testament to the type of musicians that I get to work with that they are willing to play with a "weekend warrior" at all. Most, if not all, are full-time performers and session musicians that feed their families playing music. I play one or two shows a month and these guys are performing live or in the studio five to six days a week. It makes me a better musician and performer to get to play with them and I consider it an honor.
Where this goes from here is anyone's guess. We have some great shows on our schedule in the coming months. One in particular is a very significant event in one of the area's noted venues. I'm very excited to get to play this particular room, but we're keeping it a secret for now until all of the details can be worked out. Stay tuned for more information.
You can follow our schedule at www.markhaydenband.com. We are also in the process of working on the first CD for this project. I am still in the process of screening original material. It is looking very promising so far and I can't wait to actually get into the studio with this new material. I'm guessing we should have it completed sometime during the spring or summer of 2013. There will be more to follow on that in the coming months also. In the meantime, be sure to keep your eyes on the websites and come out to see a show if you're in the area!