Buy Kmag Yoyo (& Other American Stories) from Amazon
Album Review: Kmag Yoyo (& Other American Stories) by Hayes Carll
Excellent, Based on 6 Critics
Rolling Stone - 100 Based on rating 5/5
Click to Listen to Hayes Carll's "Kmag Yoyo" and "Another Like You" Texas troubadour Hayes Carll turned heads in 2008 with a pledge to kick the Messiah's ass ("She Left Me for Jesus"). The title track on his latest is a soldier's lament involving heroin, space travel and David Bowie. Now that's country music! In fact, it is: Carll unreels road-damaged stories with a boozy twang, his wicked couplets cut with a sentimental streak even when they're negotiating a hate fuck (the hilarious Democrat-Republican hookup "Another Like You").
“I’m Like James Brown only white and tallerAll I wanna do is stomp and holler.”—Hayes Carll, “Stomp And Holler” Only a dedicated acronym enthusiast—acronymophile?—or a military vet would know what KMAG YOYO stands for (“Kiss My Ass Guys, You’re On Your Own”), but it’s now also the title of Hayes Carll’s best album yet. Like many of the great country wordsmiths that came before, Carll delivers simple songs that are simply grand. With a nod to Hank Williams and a wink to Woody Guthrie, Carll’s good-time music also takes a somber look at current uncertainties.
Carll is locked in a not-so-fierce battle with Ryan Bingham for the title of new king of alt-country. Here he splits the difference between Bingham’s tender musings and a more raucous brand of humor. It’s no surprise a guy best known for ”She Left Me for Jesus” would turn in a one-night-stand saga as funny as the Democratbeds- Republican duet ”Another Like You,” but he can play it beautifully straight — and sad — too.
If it weren't already apparent that the Texas singer/songwriter archetype had become an established subgenre of country music, a listen to Hayes Carll's fourth album, KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories) ought to confirm it. Carll, a 34-year-old Texas native, plays in honky tonk, country-rock, and country-folk styles so familiar that it's often possible to sing older songs to the music he and his band perform, whether it's the Hank Williams-style "Hard Out Here" or the title song (a military acronym for "Kiss My Ass Guys, You're on Your Own"), set to the tune and headlong tempo of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues. " Of course, Carll sings in a wheezy country twang, and his lyrics suggest the barstool wit of an engaging loser.
The title of Hayes Carll’s latest hard rockin’ folk album is a modern military acronym. KMAG YOYO (pronounced “kay-mag, yo-yo”) stands for Kiss My Ass Guys, You’re on Your Own. That smart-aleck attitude captures the spirit of the new release. The title song itself is a weird mishmash of a composition.
With 2008's Trouble in Mind, Hayes Carll turned his red-dirt-caked troubadourism into a national debut garnering acclaim behind the lackadaisical humor of "She Left Me for Jesus" and Ray Wylie Hubbard co-write "Drunken Poet's Dream. " The Austin songwriter's fourth album breaks beyond Texas borders again, this time with the titular acronym of "Kiss My Ass, Guys, You're On Your Own. " The irreverent wit honed in the dive bars of Crystal Beach now displays the kind of maturity that bites with purpose but assuages with a wink.