Ward Hayden & The Outliers (formerly Girls Guns & Glory) formed as a way to break from the music so commonly found on popular radio airwaves. Hayden’s foray into country music and early rock ‘n’ roll began with a fateful borrowing of a few of his mother’s cassettes. When asked, Hayden remarks, “I was doing these long drives and there was nothing appealing to me on the radio. I was twenty years old at the time and had been through my first experiences with heartbreak and loss. When I put some of these cassettes on the player in my Oldsmobile Delta Eighty-Eight, all I could think was, “this is everything I’ve been searching for.”
It took a few years after that to get the band up and running, and now with a line up featuring Paul Dilley on Upright/Electric Bass, Josh Kiggans on Drums and Cody Nilsen on Lead Guitar/Pedal Steel the band has cut it’s teeth the old fashioned way: on the road and on the stage. Since their formation they’ve barnstormed far beyond their Boston hometown, playing honky-tonks, beer joints and more recently concert venues throughout the U.S and Europe.
Their love for early rock ‘n’ roll, true country, raw blues and pretty much any kind of authentic American music branded them quickly as anomalous – and electrifying. The song topics run the gambit of love, hope, work-a-day life, the grind and the results of those experiences on the body and mind.
The band, hailing from the Northeast, have always been outliers in the world of country music, often joking they were born out of time and out of place. But, they have stayed true to the sounds that inspired them and the genuine life experiences they’ve gone through no matter where they hail from. Ward Hayden and The Outliers are a musical force to be reckoned with. From heart wrenching ballads to foot-stompin’ rock ‘n’ roll, whether live or on record, Ward Hayden and the Outliers deliver every time.
Their new album Can’t Judge a Book (out August 24th) is a collection of songs written by other songwriters that have inspired their journey. But there is also one original song written by the full band, titled “Naturally Crazy”. Today Glide is excited to premiere that tune, which is an ode to the state of mind needed to be a touring musician. Coming out of the gate swinging with vocals that bring to mind The Mavericks’ Raul Malo with a touch of Buddy Holly and Dwigh Yoakam, the song is a breezy, country-tinged rocker. The chorus and song title are immediately radio-worthy as the guitars and drums soar higher and higher. Though these guys make rock and roll sound effortless, they speak to the grind of life on the road and perhaps what is the secret to longevity as a musician: to be naturally crazy.
The band describes the inspiration being the song:
“This was a song inspired by a friend of ours when we were on tour in France. After watching Cody, on and off stage, she remarked, ‘Cody, he is naturally crazy?’ Which was spot on, he’s wild. It occurred to me in that moment that anyone willing to spend this many days on the road, put in this kind of wear and tear, and go about making music for a living has got to be naturally crazy, at least to some degree. When we got home from that tour I had the words and outline of the song worked out and then the band came in and we put the whole song together. It was a good full band collaboration because we’d lived the experience together, so putting the song together as a full band only seemed right.”
Can’t Judge a Book is out August 24th
Photo credit: Niclas Bågerheim