"Her beautiful voice, craggy but booming resembles that of Shovels and Rope Cary Ann Hearst... straight ahead alt-country style with small town signafiers..." - Columbia Free Times
"Local country folk singer and songwriter, gifted in vivid lyrical portrayals..." - Kevin Curtain The Austin Chronicle
"She comes from that Lucinda Williams place of mournful poems that flow like molasses over old scars and fresh wounds, looking for the sunshine but frequently ending up in darkness." - Houston Free Press
"Drought comes up anything but dry." - Margaret Moser, The Austin Chronicle (Drought)
"Quite a few women have traveled the roads paved by Lucinda Williams, seldom do they get to the heart of the matter like Christy Hays." - Jim Caligiuri, The Austin Chronicle
"O' Montana (is) simply lovely." - Laurie Gallardo, KUTX Austins
"There’s seriousness, intensity and a level of artistry to her songs and her live performances." - Bozeman Magazine
"Polished like knotted floorboards worn smooth by decades of boot heels..." - Bucket Full of Nails
"Folk shuffles and country twinges pang alongside Hays' acoustic plucking and a voice that effortlessly wavers between effervescence and quiet longing." - Zach Schepis, NYC Break Thru Radio
Born in rural central Illinois, Christy Hays never really aspired to be a working songwriter. "I was interested in the wilderness (we didn't have any), Jane Goodall and swimming in the lake." recounts Hays. "I started playing guitar when I was 13 years old, mostly out of curiosity." Hays grew up somewhat surrounded by music, her father, a luthier and guitar player showed her the major chords on her old Gibson. There was no pressure to play but music was a center piece.
"I left Illinois in my early 20's, directly after college. I graduated in December and moved to Haines, Alaska in April." says Hays, squinting into the sun on a bright spring day in Texas. "I was really disillusioned buy our society and wanted to go live in the woods." Hays took her Forestry degree from Southern Illinois University and worked at a naturalist and river guide and eventually for the State of Alaska conducting research on wild salmon.
Living seasonally, traveling in the US as well as abroad in the winters Hays essentially spent the better part of her 20's in an alternative lifestyle where she came to the conclusion science was not her calling, rather music was. "I reached a point where songwriting and the art of self expression surrounding the craft were more important than the wilderness. I moved briefly to Memphis, then to Nashville in 2007." explains Hays.
Nashville was an awakening, a crash course in music business and performance. One she was not prepared for as city living depressed her and stage fright consumed her. "I was learning to collaborate in a band, book shows and navigate social media. In a sense, learning what was hip since I lived disconnected for so long." About six months into living in Music City, Al Bunetta from Oh Boy Records heard Hays' songs and was intrigued. She cut a three song demo for the label but never got picked up for a full length. After two years in Nashville the decision was made to move to Austin, TX.
"Austin felt more my speed and my vibe. I loved the country music and songwriters that were coming out of here in the late 2000's. I felt at home shortly after I got here, I grew up musically and found a great community to collaborate with." recalls Hays. Since then Hays has played venues all over Austin and in the past few years begun to make more of her living touring solo and occasionally with her full band. Hays has opened for Hayes Carll, Sturgil Simpson, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis and Jeffery Foucault to name a few. Bruce Robison cut her song "Lake of Fire" and released it on his newest album Bruce Robison and the Back Porch Band. Hays has earned a spot amongst the respected songwriting community in Austin, TX. As Kevin Curtin, music writer from the Austin Chronicle puts it, "Like Lucinda Williams in a Carhartt jacket Christy Hays works rugged metaphors into emotionally charged country folk." A few years ago Hays bought an old four square house off of writer Edwin Dobb in Butte, Montana. Hays now spends portions of the summer in Montana, gigging in the Northwest, writing and returning to her beloved wilderness. Hays dreams of creating an artist retreat out of that house for people just like her who need to escape the city, disappear and create.
Compared to Brandi Carlile, Lucinda Williams, Rhett Miller, Kathleen Edwards and Patty Griffin, Hays has a sound uniquely her own. Folk and country tinges, thoughtfully penned stories and a full band sound that is both driving alt country and moody folk rock. Her live shows are filled with an undeniable presence, she belongs in the space she's made for her craft. Hays has released two full length albums and two EP's since 2009. Each effort lends it's self to the variable styles and incarnations of full band and solo work. Hays will begin work on her first full length since 2012 in May of 2017. If it's anything like what we've heard we can expect a comprehensive piece of work, well penned and fully realized.