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KMAG YOYO (& other American stories) CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Product Description

2011 release from the Texas-based singer/songwriter. Hayes Carll hasn't been resting on his laurels since topping critics polls and winning awards for his 2008 album, Trouble in Mind. Instead, he's been on the road nearly nonstop with his band, The Poor Choices blasting through honky tonks and rock clubs across the U.S. and beyond. Along the way, he's been inspired to write a crop of new tunes that the acclaimed songwriter says are a layman's take on our country a snapshot of America in some small way. The album's title, KMAG YOYO, is pronounced kay-mag, yo-yo. It is a military acronym that stands for Kiss My Ass Guys, You're On Your Own

From the Artist

"I wanted to challenge myself musically," says Carll, "and see if I could capture that live dynamic. A lot of the songs came with the music first, with the music calling the lyrics."

"We had a little bit of swagger going in, which was part of what I wanted to capture," said Carll about the album, "we'd been out on the road for a couple years and were sounding good together. Combining that with some timely songs, I think we came up with something special."

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Digital Booklet: Kmag Yoyo (& Other American Stories)
Digital Booklet: Kmag Yoyo (& Other American Stories)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 15, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • ASIN: B004BSWC0I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,931 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I just ripped KMAG YOYO and now my computer is drunker than ever! I fear for Hayes, at this pace he is destined to be the stuff of legend. I cannot recall a new artist pouring so much of themselves into their career. He's leaving his soul on the paper folks....

Kudos to HC for grabbing Corb Lund for some fun on this project. Those of you getting turned to Hayes by some Hollywood movie: Go back & digest his previous, Trouble In Mind, & you'll have a deeper appreciation for this album and his approach. This is not the "Texas sound"; this kicks it in the ass for hours and leaves it wimpering in the corner.

As for the title track on this one, FANTABULOUS! Hayes is whiter and taller than James Brown, but just as much swagger. Rock on, brother, rock the eff on!
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Format: Audio CD
Hayes Carll has discovered America, wait, make that Americana: On none of his three previous albums (not even on the heavily country influenced "Flowers And Liquor") has the alt.country singer/songwriter dug so deep into the vein of traditional American music while commenting on the US in the 21st century.
On KMAG YOYO (& other American stories) there's a lot of honky-tonkin' and stompin' and hollerin' (as on the first track "Stomp and Holler" and on the title track, both sounding like a bastard called Subterranean Honky Tonk Blues, or on "The Lovin' Cup"), some country swing ("Hard Out Here", "Another Like You") and some finger-picking ballads ("The Letter").
Unlike on "Trouble in Mind", on which the rockers at the beginning were the best songs, the strength of "KMAG YOYO" lies in the slower tunes towards the end: "Bottle in My Hand" (with Hayes Carll, Todd Snider and Corb Lund taking turns singing), "Bye Bye Baby" (with not much more accompaniment than a banjo and a pedal steel guitar), "Hide Me" (with a beautiful gospel hum in the background). Those three plus the laid-back tap-your-feet-clap-your-hands-nod-your-head-sing-along "Grand Parade" are among Hayes Carll's best songs.
There's a lot of great artists releasing new CDs this winter/spring: The Low Anthem, Lucinda Williams, Drive-By Truckers, Todd Snider (even if it's just a live album, no new stuff), Steve Earle, Cary Hudson, Jason Isbell. But I'll bet you: KMAG YOYO will be on a lot of year's end lists!
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Format: Audio CD
I can't stop listening to this!!!! An excellent mix of contemporary and traditional country. I can definitely hear a Merle Haggard influence on this album. The campy duet "Another Like You" (featuring Cary Ann Hearst) gives this album a unique twist. Fabulous!!!! A MUST have for Hayes Carll fans!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
I'll leave it to music critics to pigeon-hole Hayes Carll into whatever genre fits their needs - country, honky-tonk, whatever. All I know is that KMAG YOYO (a military acronym right up there with SNAFU and FUBAR, in case you're wondering) is one terrific album.

For the most part, KMAG YOYO offers a selection of bar-thumping, get-on-your-feet tunes. Carll kicks things off with a jangling fury with the first two songs, "Stomp and Holler" and "Hard Out There" and follows it up quickly with the title track (a clever riff on a young man's journey through our military). These are tunes that earn their place on your bar's jukebox favorites, although "Bottle in my Hand" and "The Loving Cup" may be more likely to get play at a dance hall.

"Bye Bye Baby," on the other hand, will in fact make a grown man cry.

My personal favorite on this album is the clever duet with Cary Ann Hearst, "Another Like You." Hearst and Carll sing as if they have met in a bar and exchange insults (he's a Democrat, she's a Republican) but as the beer goggles grow stronger they decide to take things to another level. This duet is right up there with the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" (with Kirsty McColl) and the Dropkick Murphy's "Kiss Me, I'm ****-faced," two classics.

When I was younger I'd buy an entire album to get one great song. Thanks to technology we don't have to do that any longer, but this is one album that deserves to be purchased in its entirety - there's not a weak entry in the bunch. I shouldn't be surprised - Carll wouldn't stand for it.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
On TROUBLE IN MIND, Hayes Carll showed us that he's serious. It takes guts to release a song such as "She Left Me For Jesus" as a country radio single, and it takes confidence to cover a Tom Waits song on your first wide-release album. That Carll pulled off both marvelously, while turning out a record that was mediocre in its worst moments and sublime at its best, was proof positive that Carll is somebody to watch out for.

KMAG YOYO (& OTHER AMERICAN STORIES) is a great follow-up. He starts off rocking (and comparing himself to James Brown--"but white and taller"), and even when the album slows for its ballads, it still hits you where you want to be hit. He channels Bob Dylan Todd Snider (who later makes an appearance, along with Corb Lund) on the title track, and Billy Joe Shaver on "The Letter." He and Cary Ann Hearst exchange hilarious banter on "Another Like You," while "Hide Me" wraps the album up on a surprisingly tender note.

KMAG YOYO isn't for everyone, true--those who like mainstream country will find themselves scratching their heads, wondering what the hell they just heard. But for those of us who like a little grit in our music, who like someone who doesn't use Auto-Tune, who enjoy listening to someone who knows both how to have fun and when to be serious--for people like us, Hayes Carll is a godsend. Here's hoping we'll get a lot more from him in the future.
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