Now a father, he can appreciate the safe comfort The Woodlands provided.
"It's about that weird point in youth where you haven't got where you're going, but there's still endless potential in front of you," Carll says. You could do nothing for three days straight or make the greatest memories of your life.
"You're at that point where you can do anything and get away with it. "Or get arrested." Carll is 32 and married with a kid now. There's less trouble in mind these days, though that doesn't stop him from writing about it.
Trouble in mind He was born in The Woodlands, but stints in other places have deepened Hayes Carll's outlook on life.
And when it's time for the singer/songwriter to get busy, he often goes to a place or recalls a time — the unhappier, the better — to inspire him.
It's not until later that it seems funny when he suggests we sit behind the Continental Club for an interview, "where we can get some fresh air and smoke some cigarettes." "I admire his sense of humor," says singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard, a friend, mentor and collaborator. Guys who were intelligently witty, and fast with it too." To wit, Carll dryly admits that formal education in Conway, home to Hendrix College, was something of an afterthought. "It is Carll's first album since signing with Universal's Lost Highway label, home to artists such as Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello, Ryan Adams and Willie Nelson.
"You hear all the comparisons with Townes (Van Zandt) and everything, but people don't always know that Townes was funny. "I just didn't really ever think about what I was doing there. But I didn't put it into a practical side; you know, what are you applying this to? He laughs off the suggestion there was a big signing bonus, saying any advance money went into his house.
Because he had a college degree, even as "248 dash 248," he was a team leader.
"I would've been bad off if I'd waited for them to call me back about a job. ' "I just said, 'Good to see you, Lyle.'" Later Carll talks about Lovett's influence.
I think we're still two years from the next one." He cut a demo with some of the money from that job and used the rest to travel to Croatia. "He showed me a song doesn't have to be about a generic pace or rhyme scheme.
His Census earnings depleted and back in the States, Carll sought experiences of any sort that might yield a song about solitude or wandering. He got a break from Rex Bell at the Old Quarter in Galveston, who would make his stage available. Real simple personal details mixed with some wild random things, he just created his own style.
Originally presented in a deluxe gatefold sleeve, it's not surprising that the Nitzinger LP has long been coveted by '70s rock collectors for the band's one-of-a-kind mixture of earthy grit and fearless (possibly nave) flights of fancy.