THE COLIN HAY BAND
Saturday, August 8, 2020 7:30pm
$45 Advance / $145 Premium Seats / $55 Day of Show
Colin Hay currently finds himself in the unprecedented place of having both ’80s fame and Indie credibility. As an influential and celebrated frontman, Hay is most beloved for his intimate, confessional live shows– an experience he’s ready to bring back again to the Lowell stage. Now the singer-songwriter takes an epic, cinematic step forward with his newest release Fierce Mercy.
He is known from his years with Men At Work (1979-1986) and the hits “Land Down Under,” “Overkill,” “It’s A Mistake,” and “Who Can It Be Now?” But his body of work extends into his fourth decade of work as a solo artist.
The range of artists who have chosen to cite Colin Hay as a muse, or who have found themselves on stage with him in the past few years, spans the genre landscape from heavy metal, to Americana, to Cuban rhythms and beyond. His inclusion as a playlist favorite from the likes of Metallica to the Lumineers reflects his continuing relevance and broad appeal.
Fierce Mercy explores themes of love and loss, mortality, and even the odd UFO sighting, but always with the singular perspective and insightful wit that define Hay’s work. He has created a new classic in his impressive repertoire (this is his 13th solo release), using a palette of pop song-craft, Americana flourishes, and soundtrack-ready strings. Fierce Mercy is animated by its pensive, honest, and impassioned lyrics, and, Hay adds, by a sense of urgency felt deeply in the song “The Last to Know,” which introduces the album’s title concept of “fierce mercy.”
Using his gift for expressing struggle in a way that resonates with a wide variety of people, he compares this to the messages mankind is getting on a global level: “With the changing weather patterns, or the polar ice caps melting, we’re getting all of these warnings, and a lot of them are incredibly fierce. But they still feel somewhat merciful—they’re not destroying us totally. We’re all being told, ‘Listen, you can still maybe address this, and it won’t get to the point where I have to take you all out. You’ve still got a shot.’”
Ten of the album’s thirteen stellar compositions were collaborations with Michael Georgiades, who contributed to Hay’s previous sets Gathering Mercury (2011) and American Sunshine (2009). The pair co-wrote two of the album’s clear stand-outs, the pop vocal ballad “A Thousand Million Reasons” and the Americana-leaning “Come Tumblin’ Down.”
Some of the songs are deeply personal: “She Was the Love of Mine,” is an elegy for the singer’s mother, who died several years ago. Some are novelistic: “Frozen Fields of Snow” recounts the story of a war veteran returning to his childhood home after outliving the other members of his unhappy family. “Sometimes lyrical ideas will come into your head, so you follow them and see where they go,” Hay says.
Hay has experienced something of a surge in his career recently, being publicly cited as an influence by artists as distinct as James Hetfield of Metallica, Jeremiah Fraites of The Lumineers, Troy Sanders of Mastodon, and the Infamous Stringdusters; as well as the completion of a documentary film about his career entitled Waiting for My Real Life, named for one of his best known solo recordings. Now finding himself in the unprecedented place of having both ’80s fame and indie credibility, it’s possible that Hay has delivered the defining album of his solo career.