||In place of the standard industry "Bio," here's the official story of Hayseed Dixie:
So just what the hell is this whole Hayseed Dixie thing all about, you ask? Well, the Liner notes from the first Hayseed Dixie album, "A Hillbilly Tribute To AC/DC," say it all:
"From the fertile valley of Deer Lick Holler, deep in the heart of Appalachia, comes a sound that is old yet new. In an area completely isolated from outside cultural and musical influence, this band of acoustic musicians grew up playing the traditional music of their forefathers. Then, as fate would have it, one crisp fall afternoon, a stranger passed through the holler. Well, he almost made it through. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for appreciators of great music worldwide, the stranger crashed his car into a stately old oak tree at Devil's Elbow Curve. Sadly, the stranger expired, but his legacy lives on. For under the back seat of his car, the boys found some old black vinyl records as they went through his belongings looking for identification. All they had to listen to them on was an old Edison Victrola that only played at 78 R.P.M., but the boys all agreed it was some mighty fine country music. So, in memory of the stranger who had perished the boys set about learning these songs . . . "
The records in the car, of course, were by the band AC/DC. And the boys recorded an album of the songs in their own mountain / bluegrass style - with fiddle, mandolin, banjo and such. We'll let singer & fiddle player Barley Scotch tell this part of the story from here:
B.S.: "Yeah . . . so when we was first listening to those records . . . I mean, it became REVEALED to me - that Lost Highway of Brother Hank Williams and that Highway to Hell them boys was singing about . . . well, I KNEW: they're the same damn road! So, we just set about playing some of them songs, in with our regular ones, you know, at church socials and such . . . and the next thing we knew, this fellow from Nashville had us down there making a record. Before I knew it, I was talking on the radio every day and the record was in every Wal-Mart in the country . . ."
As it turns out, members of AC/DC became aware of Hayseed Dixie just as they were beginning to tour. AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams invited the band to play at a tour-wrap party, and even joined them onstage to play bass on "Have a Drink On Me."
B.S.: "Yeah . . . so we didn't know what to expect, you know . . . but Cliff was about the coolest fellow we ever met. He said the whole band really liked our record, and I figured . . . after him saying that, well, I didn't give a damn what any of them critics had to say about it, you know. So we got out there touring around, spreading the message, you know . . . about that Lost Highway and that Highway to Hell being the same road and such . . . "
The band performed over 100 live dates in the Summer and Fall of 2001, sold over 100,000 copies of the album worldwide, and appeared on every major morning radio show in the US. Many people began asking Barley Scotch - "What's next?"
B.S.: "Yeah . . . well, I had a good business going before this whole Hayseed Dixie thing happened, you know. Me and my whole family, we're in the alternate fuel and beverage business, you know. And it's done real good for us over the years. Course, once we got out there touring and everything, I kind of had to put the still on the back burner. Nobody expected that record to do like it did. I guess the message just hit home with a lot of folks. I mean, verily, verily I say to ya'll, there's 4 key elements in any good mountain song - drinking, cheating, killing and going to hell. That's what we've been singing about our whole lives. And that's just what them AC/DC songs was about too. So . . . you know, there's a lot of stuff the same between rock and mountain music. You listen to some old Stanley Brothers stuff . . . you'll hear what I'm talking about . . . But I was planning to get back to Deer Lick and back into my business. But the record company people just kept on begging for another album . . . giving me new records to listen to and such. So I decided that instead of doing all songs by just one group, we'd do all songs about a theme: MOUNTAIN LOVE! See, a whole lot of drinking, cheating, killing and going to hell happens because of love, so in a way, I figure we're just distilling the whole thing down now. And I know plenty about distilling stuff. Plus I got to put a couple of my own songs on it. And I just got divorced again, you know . . . I think I've done been married to and divorced from about every decent looking woman in Deer Lick, so I figure a tour is in order . . . It worked OK last time in that area . . ."
And so, May 21, 2002 marked the release of "A Hillbilly Tribute To Mountain Love," an inspired exploration of one of the primary reasons for drinking, cheating, killing and going to hell . . . and going on tour. And the Summer and Fall of 2002 saw the boys again embarking on a noble quest - to find new wives in the various roadhouses and drinking establishments across the country in which they performed . . . Viva Mountain Love!
And wives they found, and wives they lost. And Dale earned the nickname "Ty Coon" (ask the boys about it sometime). And lots of other things we can't discuss here happened too - if you were there, you know. And heroic quantities of alcohol beverage / fuel were consumed in the process by both the band members and the van they drove. To the best of everyone's memory, 2002 was a good year.
And then . . . it happened . . . A glorious moment! While driving down some mountain road between Asheville, NC and Johnson City, TN, on the way to a show and digging on the radio, the boys heard something which completely blindsided them - something which touched the inner fabric of their very beings. Something which pinned them all like a bolt of recognition. The works of one Paul Stanley and one Gene Simmons: Two songs there on the radio that summed it all up - everything they had lived through during the previous two years. "Detroit Rock City" and "Let's Put the X in Sex." It was an epiphany, dare we say an altar call.
The next day, the boys picked up several CDs by the group, Kiss, and verily verily it was revealed to them that they had found absolute kindred spirits. Barley was especially taken by the song "Cold Gin," and though he still personally prefers corn whiskey at room temperature, he found the sentiment overwhelming - to which the heartfelt vocal delivery of the song on the CD bears witness. The path was then absolutely clear. And the boys set out to record the songs from the Kiss catalog which they found most closely testified to their own personal experience. And record them they did. In two inspired days, start to finish. Hence, February 18, 2003 marked the release of the 3rd Hayseed Dixie CD, "Kiss My Grass - A Hillbilly Tribute To Kiss." A joint tour with Kerosene Brothers followed during the entirety of 2003, including over 100 live shows all over the US and Australia. Much heroic drinking was done - which at this point should go without saying.
Feeling the need to plough some fresh fertile fields, the boys began to focus on getting to Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland . . . hell, Europe as well . . . in 2004. Thus, August 2, 2004 saw the release of "Let There Be Rockgrass" in the UK and Europe. And the first UK tour took place, and despite the fact that people in the UK drive on the wrong side of the road, it was a greater success than anyone had imagined. The full spectrum of hell was raised. Rockgrass was now an international phenomena. And June 27th is the official release date in the UK and Europe for the newest CD, titled "A Hot Piece of Grass," which contains reinterpreataions of several classics as well as several Hayseed Dixie original songs. The album will be released in the US and Canada February of 2006 - mainly because it's physically impossible to tour more than one continent at the same time (though research is currently being done). As Barley says, "We ain't even started drinking yet. We've just been on a recon mission so far. Now we know where the party people around the world are, and we're coming back to close the deal." A promise, no doubt.
Hayseed Dixie are: Barley Scotch - singer, guitar & fiddle; Don Wayne Reno - banjo;