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William Hayden Artist Interview by Noah James Hittner, The Ark of Music, Aug 2017 http://thearkofmusic.com/william-hayden-interview/
Q: Your dad was a military man which caused you to travel a lot as kid. What branch was he in? What parts of the world did you see during this period of time?
A: My father was in the Navy so we moved around a lot when I was growing up. We lived in Monterey, Alameda, and Fort Ord, California, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey by the time I was 13 years old. It was hard to leave my friends and make new ones, but I think it taught me how to adapt to new places and situations.
Q: Eventually your family settled-down in Covington, IN. Tell us how Covington has inspired your craft. In particular, tell us about your high school band, “Horizon”: What kind of music was it? What was your role?
A: When I was 13, my parents divorced and I lived with my mother, brother and sister in southern Maryland for a couple of years. When my father retired, my brother and I moved with him to Covington, Indiana where both of my parents are from. I have a lot of fond memories of that time in my life, playing in the garage band we called “Horizon”. (see photo at left) We were all good friends and had a great time rehearsing and playing together. Back then in the 70’s, we were influenced by the current top 40 music. We also played original songs written by our lead singer and keyboardist Phil, who is a talented singer/songwriter and the first person I knew who wrote his own music. He studied at Butler and Berklee College of Music and toured for many years after graduating college. Alan was our drummer and sound person. He now owns a successful recording studio and sound production company in Covington. Margo and Elise were the female singers who added a lot to the band with their beautiful vocals. I was the lead and rhythm guitar player and provided occasional comic relief.
Q: Can you tell us about the first moment you picked up a guitar?
A: I’ve been infatuated with the guitar as long as I can remember. I had uncles on both sides of the family who played guitar when the family got together. I was only six years old at the time, but one night my Uncle Beryl let me hold his guitar. It was an old Gibson archtop acoustic and it felt big in my small hands. When I was old enough he taught me some chords and my first songs on the guitar. My other uncle John played a Stratocaster electric guitar through a Fender Deluxe Reverb and I loved the sound. He taught me several old classic country songs that I still play today. I was fortunate to have those very diverse musical influences at such an early age, and I owe a lot to my uncles for taking an interest in teaching me.
Q: What was your first guitar? Do you still have/play it?
A: My first guitar was a sunburst Harmony Stella acoustic guitar that my mother bought for me for Christmas when I was 9 years old. She put a big red bow on top and hid it under my bed. I’ll never forget how I felt when I first saw it. I wanted a guitar for a long time, so I was thrilled! That was the guitar I learned my first songs on. I have it hanging on my studio wall to remind me of how my Mother loved and invested in me. My first really nice guitar was a Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that my brother-in-law Dwight owned. I used to pick it up and play it whenever I visited his house. It was the same model that George Harrison played with the Beatles. I guess he could see how much I loved the guitar because one day he handed it to me and said I could take it home. That was the guitar I played in several bands, and I’ll always be grateful to him for showing me what generosity looks like.
Q: You’re a solo musician. Was that a conscious choice to no longer be in a band, or was it simply a matter of circumstance?
A: Although I’ve played in a few bands over the years, I consider myself more of a songwriter and producer than a performer. Songwriting and producing music is very different than performing. Writing requires a lot of time to myself as I reflect and focus on the writing process. I loved playing in a band and hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that again some day.
Q: You latest work, the album, Coming Home, is a follow-up to the previous projects which include 2010’s, This Road (album), and 2014’s, This Is Our Life (single). Tell us how each of these are connected—and how they differ.
A: My first album, This Road, was an autobiographical album about my life’s journey and search for meaning and purpose in life. The road I’ve been on has had its share of twists and turns and I’ve seen some beautiful things along the way, as well as some ugly storms. My latest album, Coming Home is about coming full circle in the journey while rediscovering the way back home. As the German theologian and philosopher, Meister Eckhart said, “God is at home, it’s we who have gone out for a walk.”
The single, This is Our Life, is a departure from my previous albums. It was inspired by a poem my son Hunter wrote and we worked together to turn it into a song. I was thrilled to have Dove Award winner Christa Wells perform the vocals and keyboard for the song. Lead guitarist, cellist and songwriter Matt Slocum of the band Sixpence None the Richer played a beautiful cello part for the song. Russ Long, a well known Nashville producer and studio engineer performed the final mixes. Nashville legend and Grammy-winning engineer Hank Williams, from Mastermix Studios, completed the final mastering. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with world class musicians, producers and engineers on this project, but most of all, it was an honor to write the song with my son.
Q: How long did “Coming Home” take to record?
A: After releasing my first album in 2010, I felt I still had some things to say. Many of the songs on the Coming Home album just poured out of me. I wrote some songs in a few minutes while others took over a year to finish. Although most of the guitar tracks were recorded in my studio in Raleigh, NC, many studios all over the country were used to record the album. The entire album took four years complete, but over 50 years of life experiences and influences were invested in the project.
Q: Perhaps in some unspecified amount of time, your musical career explodes in the best of ways…what does that look like for you?
A: When it comes to creativity, success is a difficult thing to measure or quantify. Although I’ve been fortunate to have my songs played on radio stations all over the world, my goal is not to become famous or wealthy through my music. My hope is that my songs will touch people and speak to them in a very personal way. There is comfort in knowing that others have experienced the same feelings of loss, heartache, joy, doubt and have survived to tell about it. After I released my first album, This Road, a woman I had never met contacted me to say she had just lost her husband and many of my songs really spoke to her. Another woman told me that her sister had lost her son in a car accident and that one of my songs helped her to grieve. If my songs can speak to people in a small way, point them to our creator, and remind them that we are not alone traveling on this road, then my music will have accomplished its purpose.
Q: You get to collaborate with anyone of your choosing. Who is it?
A: So many artists come to mind, but I’d probably have to say Jackson Browne. I’ve always loved his musical style. His lyrics are meaningful and tell stories that I’ve always been able to relate to.
Q: Your favorite album of all time?
A: Eagles Greatest Hits 1971-1975
Q: Your favorite song of all time?
A: Wow! That’s a tough one. There are so many great songs! I guess if I can only pick one it would be James Taylor’s Fire and Rain because I’ve been able to relate to that song over the years.
Q: What artist is your biggest musical influence? Why?
A: Jim Croce was an early influence and I still listen to his music. His guitar arrangements were inspired and his lyrics tell stories that most everyone can relate to. Back in the 70’s I listened to his music constantly on my 8-track tape player in my car, then later a cassette tape, and then CD. Now I listen to the same album through an MP3 hookup in my car. I’ve gone through many cars and technologies over the years but his music has outlasted all of them.
Q: What would you like fans to know about you that they’re most likely unaware of?
A: Fans?! What fans? I have a very dry humor that many people don’t get and sometimes that includes my wife.
Q: Any shout-outs you wanna make?
A: Just a shout-out to my wife, Christa and my kids, Helen and Hunter. Thanks for all of your support and love!
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Thank you for letting me tell a small part of my story. You can read more about me and my music at my website: http://www.timesevenproductions.com/
Timeseven Coming Home Album Review by Music Reviewer Noah James Hittner, The Ark of Music, Aug 2017
With his father in the military, as a young boy, William Haydenand family moved about considerably until his high school days, when they finally settled in Covington, Indiana. There, the music began in the form of his first group, the garage band, Horizon.
Fast-forward several years to 1983, which saw young William pack everything he owned into an old Chevy with $300 in hand—and no job—and move to Florida. Over the next many years, through divorce, death, and tumultuous times, music served as his outlet and his mechanism for healing.
Now, joined by a talented group of artists which includes: Mark Williams (vocals, keyboard, bass, guitar), Dustin Robinson(vocals), Shelby Allison Lindley, Kelsey Formost and Racquel Roberts (backing vocals), Dale Baker (drums & percussion), and Jeff Crawford (bass), the group works under the moniker, Timeseven (a biblical reference from the book of Matthew).
Efforts thus far include 2010’s This Road (full album), as well as 2014’s This Is Our Life (single). Their latest project, the faith-inspired, full-length album, Coming Home saw Hayden writing, composing and performing on every track.
Here’s what we dug most…
A lovely piece dedicated to finding home within the experience of real love, In Your Eyes, could also find a home on 1997’s Surfacing by Sarah McLachlan.
In Dream Of You Hayden bravely opens up about the loss of a loved one. The keys, the vocals, and the ambient electric notes off in the distance are gentle and surreal. It’s a wonderfully sad number, which, if you allow it, will get you…
“I had another dream last night that you were home with me
We laughed and played and talked all night, just like the way it used to be
I knew you really couldn’t stay, you had to go start something new
But if you don’t mind anyway, I’ll stay right here and dream of you…”
Our Favorite Track:
With just the right touch of background vocals and well-placed, subtle, electric licks, the ultra smooth, pop-jazzy, Rainbows is immediately reminiscent of of 90’s era Nora Jones. (Honestly, it should probably make your weekend wind-down playlist.)
With acoustic guitar, keys, and touch of strings, the tragically self-honest, Out Of My Mind, hands the vocal responsibility to Dustin Robinson who sounds like a subtle version of Gavin DeGraw.
The vagabond’s anthem, Free, has a 90s college-rock feel. Like all of its predecessors, the track is produced with exquisite touch…
“Sometimes my dreams come back to me
From the depths of my memory
There was a time when I was really free
A place where I could really be loved
I was loved, I was loved…”
In classy fashion, an alt-synth-pop inspired intro sets off the album’s final track, Again, a ballad of redemption which sees Hayden and company sending listeners off with hope.
“Do no harm.” This is the unspoken motto of Timeseven’s sophomore effort, Coming Home; which is ultimately a gentle, well-intentioned collection of contemporary pop songs which calm, and sooth the heart and mind. As its core member and creator, William Hayden has not only done a fine job writing and composing, but perhaps more impressively, he’s found the right collaborators to bring the pieces to life—players AND production. If you love discovering smooth, throwback-style pop artists, give this album a shot.
Richard Marx meets Don Henley with a dash of Sarah McLachlan…
BELOW, you can listen to Timeseven’s album, Coming Home, check out our interview with William Hayden, and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support William Hayden & Timeseven by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
Timeseven This Road Album Review by Music Reviewer Annie Reuter, Jan 5th 2011
William Hayden’s passion for music dates back to the 60’s. As a child, he dreamed of being a performer on “American Bandstand,” and from the first time he held a guitar in his hands, he was hooked. Many years and life lessons later, Hayden is back with his new group, Timeseven. Hayden wrote and composed each song on the 10-track release, This Road. Complete with tales of love, loss and life’s ups and downs, Hayden’s songs are emotional and realistic. Anyone who has witnessed love or heartache will find something to grasp onto. While the start of the LP provides much optimism during the early stages of a relationship, by the end of This Road, the honeymoon period is long over. Throughout the 10 tracks, the listener witnesses the first blossom of love to the mournful death and heartache of love lost, which is a true testament to Hayden’s ability and intricacies as a songwriter.
“Just Like You” introduces Timeseven with soft vocals, smooth guitar and percussion accompaniment. Williams’ refreshing singing style combined with delicate electric guitar interludes impress and quickly draws the listener in. “I’ve been waiting a long time to tell someone I love you/Now I’m thinking that someone is you/ I’ve been looking a long time for somebody just like you/I’ve been waiting a long time for you/I’ve traveled all around the world/Just to find your shining smile and face/And your hand holding mine,” Williams sings. With a soaring guitar interlude mid-song and solid percussion throughout, the album opener aptly entices listeners to delve into the remaining nine tracks. The next song, “Free” quickens the pace. Hayden’s introspective and uplifting lyrics mesh well with Williams’ singing style making a mark on the listener.
Hayden mentions in his biography the therapeutic process songwriting has on him. “Tapping into my own personal experiences and being as honest as I can, I hope my songs will touch a chord and resonate with the listener on a deep level. Thoughts and memories, whether of joy or heartbreak replaying over and again in my head, are now woven into my songs. Songwriting has helped me to heal from the inevitable wounds of life and to celebrate its victories,” he writes. Every track on the LP showcases this honesty. A heartbreaking tale of loneliness, “Just the Thought of You” demonstrates Williams’ deeper vocals with light guitar strumming. “I’ve traveled all around the world just to find myself alone/I’ve spent my nights alone/Just talking to myself/Holding onto a dream in my mind/With my heart up on the shelf,” he sings. With a soft almost whisper-like singing style, “Just the Thought of You” and next track, “Invisible Man” bring to mind singer-songwriter Joshua Radin.
While “Just the Thought of You” is a somewhat uplifting tale, “Invisible Man” follows suit with introspection and continuous questioning. A slower ballad that embodies the hope to find content in life, Hayden shows his ability to understand the human psyche and have listeners relate. “I’m the invisible man/See me while you can/I’m here today but tomorrow I’ll be gone” he sings with desperation in his voice and slow paced musical accompaniment.
The light-hearted “Your Love” switches gears and recalls Jack Johnson with intricate guitar finger picking and soft vocals. With delicate percussion, the feel good song further demonstrates Timeseven’s prowess as musicians. Additionally, the stand-out “Ordinary Man” brings to mind John Mayer with bluesy guitar interludes while “I Still Think of You” tells the dark tale of unfulfilled dreams. “Movin’ On” follows suit and slows down the pace until album closer and title track “This Road.”
No doubt an impressive debut release, it is the slower ballads that drag the album to a close instead of ending strongly. This Road would have made more of an impact if the fast paced tracks and ballads were dispersed evenly throughout the album, and as a result would greatly help the flow.
~ Annie Reuter - Music Reviewer featured on MTV.com and RollingStone.com
Timeseven This Road Album Review by Music Reviewer Alex Henderson, March 9th 2011
Timeseven’s publicity for their debut album, This Road, opens with a famous quote from the late bebop alto saxophone legend Charlie “Bird” Parker. “Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn.” William Hayden of Timeseven didn’t use that quote to imply that he is a jazz saxophonist. Rather, Hayden’s point was that everything he wrote and produced for this album is personal to him and that his own experiences are a valuable part of the songwriting process for him. Paired with Mark Williams, who performs the vocals on This Road, Timeseven has made a strong statement with their debut record.
Hayden was a late bloomer when it came to pursuing a recording career. He graduated from college back in 1983, and This Road didn’t come out until December 2010. He has been earning a living in the software/technology field, recently writing songs on the side. This Road points to the fact that he has had plenty of ups and downs in life.
The gentle, folk-rock meets adult alternative pop-rock approach and the softness and subtlety of Williams’ vocals are a perfect fit for Hayden’s introspective songs. This Road isn’t an album that goes out of its way to push the smile button, but has more than its share of melancholy moments, and Hayden doesn’t hesitate to write about loneliness, heartbreak, despair and romantic disillusionment. Melancholy is definitely on the nose when describing “I Still Think of You,” “Ordinary Man,” “Since You’ve Been Gone,” “Invisible Man,” and “Movin’ On.” But This Road has its optimistic songs as well, including “Just Like You,” “Your Love” and the title track. It would be inaccurate to label wholesale it as a dark, brooding album, but it certainly has its dark, brooding moments.
“Just Like You” is a tuneful offering that would be perfect for AAA (adult album alternative) radio formats. The song illustrates Hayden’s strong sense of pop-rock craftsmanship, as does the equally infectious “Invisible Man,” which boasts a hook that pulls the listener in right away. Timeseven couldn’t go wrong releasing “Invisible Man” as a single. It has a timeless quality, and isn’t hard to imagine the song being played on both the soft rock radio stations of all eras. The same goes for the easy-going, laid-back “Since You’ve Been Gone,” another hooky track that has plenty of AAA appeal but could also win over admirers of classic soft rock. This album could easily appeal to fans of the Goo Goo Dolls and the Gin Blossoms, but there is no reason why someone who appreciates Seals & Crofts shouldn’t be able to get into “Since You’ve Been Gone,” “Ordinary Man” or “Invisible Man.”
On This Road, emotional depth never comes at the expense of melodic accessibility, of which “I Still Think of You” is a prime example. Hayden puts a lot of thought and feeling into the writing on “Movin’ On,” and once again, Timeseven demonstrates that emotional depth and musical immediacy are by no means incompatible.
This Road is clearly an autobiographical album, and Williams deserves a lot of credit for singing Hayden’s story as convincingly as he does. Williams never sounds like he is merely going through the motions, but always sounds emotionally invested in the songs even though they were inspired by Hayden’s experiences. Of course, the fact that a song is deeply personal to a songwriter doesn’t mean that other people will be unable to relate to it; countless jazz musicians still relate to “Parker’s Mood” even though many of them weren’t even born when Bird first recorded it back in 1948. And when Williams is performing songs that Hayden wrote, he sounds like he really relates to them.
This Road is an album that fans of introspective folk-rock and adult alternative should have no problem getting into.
~ Alex Henderson - Veteran Music Reviewer and Critic whose work has appeared in Billboard, Spin, The L.A. Weekly, JazzTimes, Creem, HITS, Skin Two, CD Review, Players, Pulse!, Music Connection, All About Jazz, Cash Box and a long list of other well known publications.
Timeseven Coming Home Album Review by Music Reviewer Heath Andrews
William Hayden describes his songwriting as a therapeutic process. All the love, joy, pain, and heartache that he’s met is poured out onto the page when he writes and composes his music. Under the name Timeseven, he’s recorded two albums, the second of which is 2014’s Coming Home. This seems to be a natural sense of progression considering his album prior was entitled This Road and dealt with a sense of longing and wanderlust. Coming Home meanwhile captures that feeling of acceptance in life and the world at large.
First and foremost it’s important to note that this is largely not an upbeat album. Much of Timeseven’s work is subdued and reflective. Most of the instrumentation consists of soft acoustic guitars, warm keyboards, and soothing vocals. Lyrically the album is deeply full of sentiment and emotion, sometimes overwhelmingly so. One of the interesting parts about the lyricism is that Hayden openly expresses his Christian faith, and though it’s hinted at in the songwriting, it never becomes explicitly Christian or spiritual.
As an example of this, take the song, “Because of You.” Hayden writes of a love that saved him, gave him everything, carried him, and shows him the way. This could easily be a testimonial to God, or even to his wife or parents. Given the backing vocals providing a gospel feel to the song, it does give off a more spiritual vibration, but the fact that it could be either or is a testament to the strong songwriting.
One of the lighter songs that takes advantage of the strong backing vocalists is “Just Like You.” The chiming guitars and jaunty rhythm are accentuated by the low key vocals and the fantastic harmonies from Shelby Allison Lindley. The keyboards provide a beautiful, serene atmosphere for the guitars to play upon, and the restrained guitar solo from Hayden is strong enough to be noteworthy without breaking the song’s tone. Credit too is due to drummer Dale Baker for a performance that manages to incorporate some brisk fills but not at the expense of the calm nature of the music. Williams’ hushed vocals are a trademark of the album.
“Free” is an interesting follow up, starting off with a bass hook and leading into a more guitar driven song than anything else on the record. Hayden gives the song a strong lyrical hook during the chorus but the lead guitar riff is equally infectious and Baker’s percussion work gives the piece some extra oomph. The closing track, “Again” has some similar gusto in points, Lindley’s backing vocals are exquisite, and Hayden throws in some mandolin to give the piece some extra texture. It’s not as driving as “Free” but it’s a suitably mid-tempo number to end on. Most of the remainder of the album consists of slower ballads that while well written and well performed, don’t feel as distinct as the songs around them. The only other song with a different kind of feel is the opener, “Did You Know” which is not quite as peppy as “Just Like You” but still has a degree of bounce to it in addition to some inspired keyboards.
Timeseven has put together a strong emotionally gripping album with Coming Home. William Hayden is a wonderfully talented songwriter and musician with a particular knack for constructing songs that feel emotionally lived in. It’s not a particularly peppy listen, but if you’re in the mood for an emotional journey, or some strong adult contemporary fare, Coming Home is a wonderful place to go to. The performances are consistently inspired, the music and lyrics are evocative of the human experience, and the atmosphere it all conjures is great for easy listening.
Timeseven Coming Home Album Review by Music Reviewer Alec Cunningham
Timeseven is the pseudonym of musician William Hayden, a man who carries a number of titles under his belt including producer, composer, and songwriter. Coming Home, which contains numerous heartfelt tracks of sincerity, happens to be the second release of his career. This set of 12 songs comes after his debut release in 2010 titled This Road. You can tell by the album titles alone that Hayden is focused on the idea of travel and the destinations that initiate and conclude these excursions. The whole idea of taking a journey in order to better understand yourself – whether it be a physical or mental form of trip – sits at the crux of his work. The title track is perhaps the most obvious of these, and it deals with coming home to a place and people of familiarity.
His songs are subtle, and their delivery is soft. He tells a story and then provides you every so often with a line of thoughtfully written lyrics that show you just how talented and insightful his writing can be. “Dream of You” is one of the tracks where he does this, writing, “The only thing that never changes is that everything always changes.”
His work has a light, airy sound to it that makes you wonder whether he doesn’t mix some contemporary Christian into some of his songs as well. This question especially comes to mind on songs such as “Did You Know,” where his lyrics can be taken more than one way. He opens the song with, “Did you know that before you even knew me, when you seemed to see right through me, that I loved you so?” The song is written from a perspective that could be taken either as having religious connotations or as being a father talking sincerely to his children.
Whatever his true subject matter may be, however, Coming Home is undeniably an album of love. He writes of how incredibly amazing and uplifting relationships can be. This happens in “Rainbows,” “Just Like You,” and “Did You Know,” just to name a few. Although he may write of the same subject, not all of these songs are intrinsically the same, however. In “Just Like You” he tells of how he has searched low and high around the world to find the perfect person when she was standing right beside him the entire time, whereas in “Rainbows” he looks back on the good time of a relationship, explaining that even when you give your all to someone the relationship can still sometimes end.
Hayden’s words are honest in this track as well as in the rest, and you can tell he has taken his life experiences to heart and has used them as a source of inspiration in his writing. This album is about a man trying to find his way, and it’s about the love and pain he experiences during that journey. We can all relate to that rollercoaster of insecurities and pleasures life throws our way, and because of that there is an added pleasure we can reap from these tracks.
This is a leisurely album formed around easy-going acoustic guitar melodies and relaxed electric guitar picking. Piano also provides a backdrop for these sounds, making for an entirely soothing, gentle release. Hayden has put his heart on display with Coming Home, and we are rewarded as listeners by the thought and sentiment he has chosen to reveal.