Hayes Carll

The 32-year-old singer-songwriter grew up in the Woodlands. His third album, Trouble in Mind (Lost Highway), was released to rave reviews in April, and he has been working nonstop ever since. He just filmed a video of his hit “She Left Me for Jesus.”

You started out playing covers in Crystal Beach and your own songs at Galveston’s Old Quarter cafe.

I was learning a lot from two different schools, the first being Crystal Beach: This is how you entertain a crowd for four hours, how you keep from getting beaten up, how you learn the honky-tonk trade. Playing in Galveston, I thought, “Maybe I have an aptitude for this.” I met other songwriters and [learned] how to entertain people who are actually listening.

The new album is doing well.

And the crowds are getting better. I’m definitely feeling a difference in my life.

“She Left Me for Jesus” is a song in the Randy Newman mold—its joke might be lost on those not paying attention.

There are people who are upset by it. For a while I was kind of hung up on it, but then I realized, look, this is funny, it’s not blasphemous. It’s making fun of the guy who is a borderline racist, intolerant redneck. If people don’t get that, then I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

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