by Robert Bell
9 p.m. Revolution. $15.
Carl Hays is the real deal: a true cowboy and singer guy who comes to us from the mean streets of The Woodlands, in suburban Houston, Texas. It's a rough 'n' tumble no-man's-land where a wrong look at a tough customer at P.F. Chang's or the Apple Store could get you shanked. You could call Carl's style of music "Americana Lite," as he never lets things get too "heavy."
He writes funny songs about girls leaving him for a guy named Jesus and things like that. It's the perfect soundtrack for sipping a pumpkin latte at Starbucks while reading a vintage issue of No Depression. Carl has some sort of connection to Arkansas that I haven't been able to figure out, despite doing a ton of research. Best I can tell, he's spent some time here for some reason and he's written songs about our state and about Little Rock.
Like all Texans, Carl is extremely intelligent and humble and thinks it's funny and kinda cute that they try to have colleges here in Arkansas. Carl himself graduated summa cum laude from a tiny, obscure liberal arts school called Texas A&M University. I think that's right.
Anyways, as I learned from watching his performances on YouTube, Carl is fond of informing audiences the world over that Arkansawyers are good people, but they don't have any self-esteem. Also, he tells people about how we don't even sell premium gasoline here, because we don't feel like we deserve it. So out of the goodness of his heart, Carl decided to take on the Herculean task of boosting our confidence by singing songs like "Little Rock" and "Arkansas Blues."
It's gotta be tough for a Texan like Carl to sing songs about a state like Arkansas and not come off like a smug, smirking phony, but he manages to mask his contempt for our state pretty well, while also raising its pitiful profile, however slightly. So in all sincerity, thank you, Carl!