Pub. Date:
Elk-Lake Serenade

Elk-Lake Serenade

by HaydenHayden


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Elk-Lake Serenade is the kind of album Neil Young wishes he could still make. It's an intimate, heartfelt, and organic record with one foot in the lo-fi camp of Beck and Will Oldham and the other in the classic rock sound of Crosby, Dylan, Petty, and Young. Especially Young. Despite some outward appearances, Hayden isn't slavishly aping Neil Young here; it's more like they are dipping their ladles into the same mountain stream. Maybe he is a bit downstream from Young, but that's not a bad place to be. Hayden's lyrics are much more personal and clever than Young's, anyhow. Whether writing dorky odes to his cat on "Woody," breaking hearts on sad tracks like "This Summer," or sharing ghost stories on "1939," he keeps things pretty simple and true. The sound of the record is also true and arrow straight. Built on acoustic guitars with little splashes of color like handclaps, tooting horn sections, and subtle strings, the record sounds remarkably large in its smallness. Hayden is in fine voice, tender and sweet with a fragile quality. Listen to him caress the lyrics on a slow ballad like "Looking Back to Me"; he's a torch singer at heart. The mostly subdued tempos are very conducive to his late-night feel and never get boring, because he varies them by degrees and includes a couple songs like the loping "Hollywood Ending" and the thumping rocker "My Wife" to break the melancholic haze and give the album some excitement. Not that one comes to a Hayden record looking for excitement. You come looking for introspective tunes with a fresh sound and unique lyrical bent. Elk-Lake Serenade delivers on this expectation in full. It may just be his finest record yet.

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Product Details

Release Date: 05/18/2004
Label: Badman Records
UPC: 0709363695624
catalogNumber: 956
Rank: 145657


  1. Wide Eyes
  2. Home by Saturday
  3. Woody
  4. This Summer
  5. Hollywood Ending
  6. Robbed Blind
  7. Killbear
  8. Through the Rads
  9. Starting Over
  10. Don't Get Down
  11. Roll Down That Wave
  12. My Wife
  13. 1939
  14. Elk-Lake Serenade
  15. Looking Back to Me

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Hayden   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Drew Birston   Double Bass,Upright Bass
Julie Doiron   Vocals
Sandy Baron   Violin
Kevin Fox   Cello
Bryden Baird   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Howie Beck   Bass,Guitar,Drums
Burke Carroll   Pedal Steel Guitar
Doug Banwell   Bass Clarinet,Saxophone
Karen Graves   Violin
Kathleen Kajioka   Viola
Kathryn Sugden   Violin
Kathryn Smudgen   Violin

Technical Credits

Hayden   Producer,Engineer,Art Direction,Audio Production,Instrumentation
Hayden Desser   Composer
Howie Beck   Producer,Audio Production
Sherwin Desser   Paintings
Karen Graves   String Arrangements
Christie Greyerbiehl   Art Direction

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