"This is our home base" explains drummer and vocalist Hayden Miles, as he introduces his band Wayne Graham during the first song of their Holler Railbird Session. Setting up in the room above the slot machines at Red Mile racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky, the group settle in as the Saturday evening sun sets, a surprisingly suitable environment for their easy Appalachian listening.
The vivid pictures the four-piece band paint, not only with their music but even with the story behind the name of the band, make them an inventive and approachable outfit. They ponder over life and the many characters you stumble upon, not necessarily possessing all the answers to the hurdles you'll face but, in their own gentle way, guide you along as they work it out themselves.
"This is about recognising that some days are harder than others" explains Hayden Miles. "Everybody has a bad day sometimes and it's just something you have to deal with in this life. But, everything's going to be ok". Noodling over some bright-eyed harmonies like CSNY at their most observant and empathetic, the band evoke a softer, more emotionally-endearing nature when performing acoustically than in their versatile live set, adding another layer to their already chameleonic expression as a group.
Taking over vocal duties, Hayden's brother Kenny delves into the brit-pysch-esque sensibility of 'Mr Green Thumb', a sparse and mysterious ditty about a nefarious character we don't quite get to know. Nevertheless, the performance is spritely and inventive; the band finding a neat balance between catchy subtlety and knotty experimentation.
"I wrote this song for a very good friend of ours, Mike Hall" Kenny reveals as he introduces their final song, 'Wooden Frames'. Playing out the opening of the song alone on his acoustic guitar, Kenny sounds like a wandering stranger, ruminating on the suffering he's caused to someone close and asking himself why he's done so. The symbiosis the band share together in the instrumental moments summons as much emotion as their lyricism, the weight of the dwelling middle-eights leaving room for consideration of those we've hurt in our lives.
Spending some time with Wayne Graham and their poignant yet imaginative music offers you a little space to gather your thoughts and find some clarity, perhaps even a little inspiration too.
Performing their songs 'Some Days', 'Mr Green Thumb' and 'Wooden Frames', this is Wayne Graham for the Holler Railbird Sessions.