"}
Music

Sean Hayes

Powerful stuff

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

You might think you don’t know who Sean Hayes is, but you do. You may further think that I’m wrong, that you’ve never heard his music before, but you have.

No, he’s not the guy who played Jack McFarland (or “Just Jack”) on Will & Grace (although that dude is also named Sean Hayes, and his character on the sitcom fancied himself an entertainer), although I’m sure musician Hayes will deal with the kind of lifelong confusion that results when a man shares his name with someone more famous than he.

Most prominently, Hayes (the musician, not the actor) had one of his songs, “Powerful Stuff,” featured in a long-running Subaru commercial. I’m not certain how many Subaru Foresters the commercial helped to sell, but I do know Hayes’ song, which starts with the lyrics, “Oh yes, this is powerful stuff/Got me circling like the moon round the sun,” was probably the most memorable part of the once-ubiquitous commercial. And, in a world where radio play becomes less and less relevant to how so many of us learn about musicians and their music, commercial placement of songs is the new heavy rotation.

Commercials aside, Hayes is hardly a household name—unless you live in or around his home of San Francisco, that is. Now in his mid-40s, Hayes has been at this for a minute, but he seldom tours very far from home, preferring to play in places and for audiences who are known quantities. He’s content to make the mark he wants to make in the way he wants to make it—even if doing increases the chances he’ll toil in near-obscurity for the majority of his career, that one Subaru commercial notwithstanding. Frankly, in an era in which the seeking of celebrity has trumped just about everything else, Hayes’ attitude reads as a refreshing throwback to a simpler time.

But Hayes’ music may well prove to be bigger than the ambitions of the musician that spawned it. Born in New York, raised in North Carolina and residing in San Francisco for the past two-plus decades, Hayes has an Irish-influenced folk/indie/soul sound—and a wholly distinctive voice that rings with rawness and warmth at the same time—that’s easy on the ears and tough to forget. As well, his songs speak to simple, essential things—love, of course, and, more recently, fatherhood—in ways that are poetic yet elemental. In other words, his songs are about those things we all feel, presented in a way we can all relate to.

When Hayes makes his way from his beloved San Franciscan home to Bellingham, it won’t be his first trip here. And, if his last show at the Wild Buffalo is any measure, Bellingham is another locale that will feel a lot like home to this currently wandering troubadour—as it does to so many other bands and musicians who come our way. Further proof that we know “powerful stuff” when we hear it.

ICU
More Music...
Valentine’s Day Cover Show
Make America love again

People have strong feelings when it comes to Valentine’s Day.

Some people thoroughly enjoy the annual celebration of love. They go all out, make elaborate plans to show affection for their significant others, hand out valentines and conversation hearts, invest in roses and chocolate,…

more »
Murder City Devils
You can’t keep a good devil down

By now, just about everyone the world over knows a thing or two about the ’90s grunge scene in Seattle, and about how a bunch of flannel-clad bands who loved distortion and had a lot of angst to burn somehow caused an unintentional musical revolution, the reverberations of which are still…

more »
MiniHam
Little festival, big ideas

Seems like everyone in Bellingham’s music scene has some sort of side hustle going on. Before becoming a full-time nightlife magnate, Shakedown and Racket owner Hollie Huthman worked at a bank by day and operated her music venue and pinball bar by night. Tyson Ballew, Make.Shift executive…

more »
Events
Today
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Community Coffee and Tea

9:00am|East Whatcom Regional Resource Center

Ukulele for Everyone

4:00pm|Everson Library

Garden Design Class

4:00pm|Blaine Library

Handmade Pasta Class

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Kombucha and Kefir

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Frankie Gavin

6:30pm|Leopold Crystal Ballroom

Unsettlers

7:00pm|Village Books

Nothing simple about it

7:00pm

Mike Allen Quartet

7:00pm|Unity Spiritual Center

Panty Hoes

9:00pm|Rumors Cabaret

MBT Rovers Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tomorrow
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Incognito

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Pasta Faves

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Between Two Worlds

7:30pm|Make.Shift Art Space

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Bellingham Technical College Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Friday
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Interurban Trail

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Magnolia Street and Cornwall Avenue

Weird Washington

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Friday Night Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Whatcom Humane Society Wine Social

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

PhotoLUSH 2017

6:00pm|Lairmont Manor

Friday Night Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Always…Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

And I Remember

7:00pm|Village Books

King John

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

International Guitar Night

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

James Hunter Six

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Borealis Wind Quintet

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Cupid's Arrow Final Weekend

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »

MBT Rovers Northwood Steak and Crab Bellingham Technical College Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books Bellingham Farmer’s Market Trove