Home Read Classic Album Review: Hayden | Live at Convocation Hall

Classic Album Review: Hayden | Live at Convocation Hall

This two-CD live set from a guy who only has three albums seems a trifle excessive.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Don’t misunderstand: I like indie-pop troubadour Hayden as much as the next guy (if not necessarily as much as the next woman). But a two-CD solo live set from a guy who’s only put out three albums seems a trifle, well, excessive.

Granted, Mr. Desser is a dandy tunesmith, what with his folk-poppy intimacy and eccentric, dear-diary lyrics about his cat, his pots and pans and the dangers of sitting under palm trees. And sure, these stripped-down performances — mostly it’s just Hayden singing in that dry, falling-leaf voice of his while he picks out his droopy, morose melodies on piano or guitar — make an illuminating, intimate change from the indie-rock quirk of his studio albums. OK, the couple of tracks with strings and backup vocals are pretty neat too, in a chamber-pop kinda way. Hell, even his aw-shucks between-song patter is endearing. Despite all that goodness, though, 83 minutes of it might be a little more Hayden than anybody really needs.

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