Woodlands native and Lost Highway recording artist Hayes Carll, whose latest album KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories) will certainly make many year-end best-of lists, may just have another career alternative if he ever gets tired of the road.
As a Jazzercise instructor or franchise owner.
Rocks Off learned this week that KMAG's "Stomp and Holler" has been added to Jazzercise's corporate set list for the current ten-week period. And Michael Chandler, one of several Jazzercise franchise owners in Houston, isn't as surprised as we are at Carll being included on the corporate set list.
"Our corporate chairman, Judi Sheppard Missett, picks out all the music and works out all the new routines that go with the songs, and she is pretty amazing at what she comes up with," says Chandler, who owns the Rice Village franchise. "I'm not exactly certain how she picks out songs for any one cycle, but she does have a great set of ears."
Jazzercise workout sessions last an hour, and Chandler informed us that usually means each ten-week music cycle includes about 16 songs.
"I know we call it Jazzercise, but the set list includes all kinds of music," he says. "There really is something for everyone."
Rocks Off caught up with Carll as he was about to do a radio program in Louisville, Ky. When we informed him of his inclusion in the current Jazzercise music cycle, Carll said in his deadpan Southern drawl, "I need to go public with this right now."
Carll, who had only a couple of dates left before getting some down time in Austin, told Rocks Off, "Maybe if this singer-songwriter thing doesn't work out, I've got some career alternatives now."
"Wow, it's really something to be included on their set list," Carll guffawed.
When Rocks Off suggested that Carll might perhaps want to consider a persona somewhat akin to weight-loss guru Richard Simmons, Carll replied, "I don't think I've got the right wardrobe. But it's something to think about."
Since its release in February, KMAG has been a constant presence on the Americana Music Chart, racking up more spins to date than the latest albums by Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss & Union Station and Steve Earle. Carll went on to tell Rocks Off about a recent experience where he and his band were playing a private gig at 100,000-acre ranch in Colorado.
"We do these gigs once in a while and it's in this fantastic outdoor setting. And these people just build a stage right out in this pasture with the mountains all around. So we're playing 'KMAG YOYO' and all these women get up and do a line dance.
"Here are these people line dancing to this song about war and social inequality and common man's anger," Carll explains. "It's pretty surreal."
"But if I can get people to line dance to that, maybe the Jazzercise thing will expose me to a whole new audience I'd never thought of targeting," Carll surmises.
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"And I really can't wait for that royalty check to roll in when these ten weeks are up."
Hayes Carll returns to McGonigel's Mucky Duck September 10.