July 7, 2016 - 5:30pm
Hays’ greatest source of inspiration is nature and wide-open spaces, themes often developed in her songs. The nomadic Hays, who arrived in Austin after an extended stint in Nashville, often tours her former stomping grounds of Alaska, where she lived for nearly five years doing a variety of odd jobs, including a couple summers working as a river guide and living in a cabin with no electricity or running water. A native of the small central Illinois town of Tuscola, Hays can also escape the faster pace of Austin and find a quiet space to write in Butte, Montana. She recently purchased a house that wasn’t actually for sale when she stumbled across it and bonded with its owner, a nationally-acclaimed writer. He negotiated a generous deal with Hays when she shared her vision of the house as an artists’ retreat.
Hays has graced stages throughout the U.S. and toured internationally. She’s been an official performer at SXSW, and she’s worked with the likes of Bruce Robison and Hayes Carll. Hays has also collaborated with some of the top talent in Austin, including The Carper Family, Jonathan Terrell, Ali Holder, Brennen Leigh and members of Wood and Wire.
Hays grew up listening to ‘60s and ‘70s rock and country and ‘90s alternative, before being turned onto singer-songwriters like Patty Griffin, Kasey Chambers and Kathleen Edwards. But from the beginning, she was inspired by her musician father Steve Hays, whose first guitar (“a lovely, vintage Gibson”) she still plays today.
Fans of artists like Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Joe Pug, the Old 97’s and Neil Young will find much to love in the music of Christy Hays.