A smouldering set on a hot summer night.
Gemma Hayes takes the stage in stark black and white, greeted by excited applause – there’s not an inch to spare in the venue. This may be the only occasion on which the Tipperary star has uttered the phrase “Let’s get hot and sweaty together!” to an audience.
‘Dreamt You Were Fine’, kicks off the set, lulling the audience in with Hayes’ voice and guitar before the rest of the band comes tumbling in propelled by big rolling drums. They may have only played eight shows together but Hayes’ backing band has already coalesced into an impressive unit. ‘Joy’ benefits from the full band treatment; the repeated closing refrain of “As long as I could see you” has the rapt audience mouthing the words quietly back to the singer.
The breathtaking four-part harmonies of ‘Making My Way’ are an early highlight preceding an airing of, ‘Back Of My Hand’ and ‘Shock To The System’. The latter’s double bass groove and tribal drumming sees the loyal crowd moving, singing and, in the quieter moments, joining in with well rehearsed hand-claps.
‘Palamino’, is introduced as “My own version of ‘My Lovely Horse’, and already appears to be quite the fan-favourite. Hayes is effusive about her love for the venue, “you can’t beat Whelan’s with a big stick” she enthuses. Each song comes with a story, the most endearing of which about what necessitated her move back from LA – the American tendency to take the egg yoke out of their omelettes and her own inability to relate to pool-party models who couldn't go swimming because their diamante encrusted swim-suits were dry clean only.
‘Happy Sad’ ratchets up the energy before Hayes skillfully brings it all to a halt with new track ‘To Be Your Honey’ – you could hear a pin drop if it wasn’t for the clinking glasses.
Before concluding the set with a rousing rendition of ‘There’s Only Love’, from Let It Break, Hayes jokes, “Just for tradition we’ll get off stage after this one but don’t let me down!” She quickly returns with support act Joe Chester for a beautiful version of his ‘Safe Place To Hide’.
A stunning solo rendition of Jackson Browne’s ‘These Days’ is made all the more intimate by the sight of her bandmates standing patiently on-stage. It’s a moment that is hard to top but the frenetic guitar of ‘Let A Good Thing Go’ leaves the audience on a high, sweaty and all the more enamoured with the Ballyporeen beauty.
IRISH FOLK SINGER DELIVERS HER FINEST ALBUM TO DATERead More
Team Hot Press is loving this MAPS remix of Gemma Hayes’ ‘Chasing’, which is so glacially cool it sounds like it belongs on the Drive soundtrack.Read More
'Chasing', the first taster from it, is streaming now.Read More
The popular singer-songwriter paid a visit to the Hot Press Storeroom and gave us two songs.Read More
The popular singer/songwriter paid a visit to the Hot Press Storeroom to give the lowdown on her next record and more...Read More
New live album gets green light...Read More
Fancy appearing on Gemma Hayes’ new album? If you've a few quid to spare, you can make it happen.Read More
Plus details of the exclusive content on offer to fans...Read More
The Sad & Beautiful World Of Sparklehorse tells the story of Mark Linkous...Read More
The pair have covered 'Christmas Song' for SPAR.Read More
She's in the Olympia Theatre on December 9.Read More
The singer song writer will join Tom Jones and Van Morrison this Saturday...Read More
The singer has confirmed an Olympia date.Read More
She'll be promoting latest album at Jim Kennedy's.Read More
Bell X1 show why they're still one of the best live bands aroundRead More
Despite a series of major label knockbacks, Gemma Hayes has not only survived but established herself as one of the country’s most individual talents. She talks to Olaf Tyaransen about her new album, Let It Break, falling in love, courting Hollywood – and dancing a jig for Ronald Reagan.Read More
Let It Break is out next month.Read More
It's taking place next week in Crawdaddy.Read More
Gemma Hayes is one of the acts invited to kick off a year of festivities to celebrate Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday next yearRead More
The singer will perform a special acoustic show this monthRead More
Tomorrow night's show will feature Gemma Hayes, Jape, Paddy Casey, Mundy, Duckworth Lewis Method, Lir, Villagers, Jerry Fish and more, all performing songs by their musical heroes.Read More
She's also had a song snapped up by One Tree Hill.Read More
Gemma Hayes is set to play what has been described as "an intimate acoustic show", at Crawdaddy, in Dublin, in December.Read More
The Irish vocalist will play an intimate acoustic set on Friday 4 December.Read More
Fresh from supporting Joe Jackson on tour in the US, Gemma Hayes has just confirmed a set of Irish dates for November and DecemberRead More
Following a busy autumn on tour around the US, Gemma Hayes has lined-up a date in Dublin this December.Read More
Gemma Hayes adds two post Electric Picnic dates in Ireland before jetting off on her UK tour.Read More
Tipp songstress Gemma Hayes and Limerick's Giveamanakick are just two of a rake of new acts added to the bill for Cork's free Indie-Pendence festival.Read More
As Gemma Hayes steps back into the fray with her long-awaited third album, Hot Press arranges for her to have a tete-a-tete with long-time collaborator Dave Odlum.Read More
As an admirer of Hayes' new album, I’d been hoping for a more mellow and subdued performance, but she was playing with a full band. And it didn’t really work.Read More
Tipperary Songbird blossoms on long-awaited comeback – eventuallyRead More
Gemma Hayes has given us a sneak peek at her new album, with cover artwork and a full tracklisting.Read More
Gemma Hayes ends her Los Angeles exile next month.Read More
The long wait for the new Gemma Hayes album is almost over...Read More
Like much of Haye’s second album, The Roads Don’t Love You, ‘Undercover’ is bland and distinctly average. The sense of intimacy, and indeed the delicate nature of Haye’s songwriting, which made Night On My Side so special is lost amid the bigger production. Often ‘Undercover’ sounds dead and lifeless; Hayes’ vocals, less subtle than before, lack honesty, with the previous sexiness to her phrasing now sounding forced. Dull.Read More
“Holy Shit!” Not the words you might expect to hear from the usually quietly-spoken Ballyporeen beauty. But that was precisely her reaction to the rapturous reception she received from a packed to the gills Vicar St. for what, I’m reliably told, was her biggest solo headliner to date.Read More
Irish singer/songwriter Gemma Hayes is to play a one-off date in Dublin next year.Read More
In a slightly unfathomable move, the lead single from Hayes’s second album makes its appearance a couple of weeks after that record’s release, by which point it will have become clear that the singer has managed to sidestep that difficult second album problem with aplomb. All of which leaves ‘Happy Sad’ a bit redundant and most probably with little chance of troubling the upper reaches of the charts. Record company tactics aside, though, this is a lovely, warm and fuzzy song that moves the Hayes sound forward, if not in giant leaps.Read More
Following the success of her Mercury-prize nominated debut album, Gemma Hayes was struck down suddenly with writer's block. Her artistic recovery was a long, painful process, taking her from a sleepy Kerry village to downtown L.A.Read More
Seeing as she’s got a new single and album on the way, Gemma Hayes is going to be playing a few domestic shows to celebrate.Read More
Gemma Hayes returns to Dublin on October 19 for a see-the-whites-of-their-eyes show in Whelan’s.Read More
She’s been a regular festival goer since she first attended Féile at the age of 14. Gemma Hayes waxes lyrical on the joys of those sprawling, big days outRead More
...and on the strength of the amazing reviews she's been getting Stateside - not least from Billboard and the Village Voice - Gemma Hayes' American career is set to run and runRead More
The Hayes live experience is nothing less than first classRead More
Gemma Hayes will be - on her extended nationwide tour, doubtlessly selling out in a venue near you as we speakRead More
Gemma Hayes is nominated for 2002 Mercury Music PrizeRead More
From Nirvana to Low to Papa M and back again: Night On My Side creator Gemma Hayes on something old and something newRead More
Jesus died for somebody's sins but not Gemma Hayes'. By Peter Murphy.Read More
Gemma Hayes's debut album collects great reviews from such tastemakers as Music Week, the Sunday Observer and (ahem) Ok Magazine's 'Hot Stars' (the last of whom reckoned, 'She's not just a pretty face - she's actually very good.' Cheers, thanks...)Read More
Hayes has a wonderful sense of melody - virtually every line she sings is memorable and unusualRead More
The beauty - and there's a lot of it - of a Gemma Hayes show, is not in the centre but the peripheryRead More
Gemma Hayes' debut Night On My Side arrives in May - preceded by Whelans soireeRead More
Channel 4 to broadcast Gemma Hayes fly-on-the-venue-wall mini-documentary in early FebruaryRead More
you couldn’t ask for a more soothing accompaniment to late summer eveningsRead More
JOHN WALSH talks to GEMMA HAYES about her debut EP 4:35am and what it was like recording with Mercury RevA?s Dave FridmannRead More