“The hallmark of this brilliantly written collection of songs is the stories on which they are based. This is the work of a great storyteller,” Phil Grant, Americana U.K.
“Like a good book you can’t put down, Haywood’s vividly painted lyrics make it remarkably easy to be drawn into the world of the album’s characters. This record is proof positive that the storyteller suit is one Haywood wears impeccably well,” Ken Kelley, The MusicNerd Chronicles
The journey that New Brunswick-based Americana artist Jason Haywood took on his award-winning album Folklore began with a relatively simple, albeit heavy, concept: A man walking across a frozen lake through heavy snow, unsure if the sounds he’s hearing is the howling wind, the ghost of his murdered lover or the Devil himself.
And with that, the track “The Ballad of Clara Leigh” was born, setting Haywood down a path of making a record distinctly different from any of his previous releases. Where his previous albums were steeped more in the style of confessional songwriting, Folklore is a story-telling album through and through.
Not surprisingly, Folklore is, lyrically, more verbose than anything Haywood has done in the past, a sort of necessary evil, given the darker undercurrents that flow through the record.
“I wanted to explore something different this time around,” he says. “Once the concept behind ‘The Ballad of Clara Leigh’ crystallized, I felt it was important for people to not just see the evil side of these characters, encompassing nefarious character traits like obsession, delusion and vengeance, but also highlight the more spiritual side of who they were as well.”
The album has proven to be one of Haywood’s most acclaimed works to date, winning the singer-songwriter Music New Brunswick’s Traditional/Roots Artist of the Year Award in 2018, while earning near unanimous praise from press in all corners of the world.
The path to Folklore hasn’t necessarily been an overnight trip for Haywood. Having been an active performer for the last three decades, Haywood has a handful of prior releases to his name, including the more “traditional” Americana sounds of 2012’s A Thousand Miles Since Yesterday and 2008’s Nothing Stays the Same.
Haywood was also a founding member of Moncton-based outlaw country band The Divorcees, with whom he won an East Coast Music Award for Country Album of the Year in 2008.