Cathartic. If Travis Hayes’ second album had to be summed up in one word, cathartic would be it. The San Francisco singer-songwriter established his emotive, unpretentious approach to songwriting with his 2014 debut full-length, Young Daze, but a period of personal trials and tribulations has since pushed him to new creative heights. If Young Daze captured the wistful optimism and possibility of youth, Sleepless is the sound of finding the strength to stand up after life has slammed you into the concrete one too many times.
This 10-tracker was always going to be a departure. In the last four years, Hayes has grown exponentially as an artist, receiving critical acclaim for both Young Daze (The Deli Magazine called it “fresh” and “modern”) and 2015’s Love Songs EP, featuring ex-Tsunami Bomb vocalist, Emily Whitehurst. (SF Weekly dubbed the record “heartfelt,” while Infectious Magazine called it “an indulgent, beautifully crafted EP.”)
Meanwhile, Hayes threw himself into touring and performing all over the country - both solo and with his carefully curated band. He made waves at festivals including SXSW, Noise Pop, Off Beat, Phono del Sol and Ocean Beach Music & Arts. In between, Hayes shared stages with the likes of Nathaniel Rateliff, Langhorne Slim, and The Record Company. In 2016, he beat his own record for number of shows played in a month (26), and, in 2017, he covered over 15,000 miles on tour. While his songwriting and structure now reflects the kind of maturity and depth that comes with hard-won experience and commitment to craft, the story of Sleepless really begins with tragedy.
“Two years ago, I had the wind knocked out of me,” Hayes explains. “One of my closest friends was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Her light passed on, all went dark, and I was left lying awake at night, sleepless and unable to make sense of anything. I didn’t know what to do or how to cope — so I wrote. I wrote, and I wrote, until I had exhausted all the fear, frustration and anger from my mind.”
This heart-wrenching collection then, truly encompasses what it is to be alive: the depth and joy of love, the agony of loss, the terror of embracing hurt, and the ultimate release of healing. Sleepless is the sound of shedding one scarred and fractured skin, in order to crawl into another, stronger one. For all its sadness, Sleepless is ultimately marked by a deep sense of hope; the will and desire to keep moving forward, even in the shadow of grief. The Bay Bridged has already noted that this creative process has transformed Hayes “from lone troubadour to swaggering bandleader.”
“Songwriting has always been this cathartic escape for me,” Hayes says, “but writing these songs was different. These songs gave me a place to be vulnerable, a place to be angry, a place to find hope. This album gave me a place to find my strength again. What started out as a laundry list of scary things that kept me up at night, became a collection of songs that detail the reasons that get me through each day. In the end,” he concludes, “they were more than just songs. They saved my life.”
West of Twin Peaks Radio #28 - KXSF.fm
PREMIERE: THE STIRRING NOSTALGIA OF TRAVIS HAYES’ RICH “EMPTY ORCHESTRA” - Atwood Magazine
EXCLUSIVE STREAM: Travis Hayes – “Sad Songs” - Ghost Cult Mag
Travis Hayes and Cathedrals – A San Francisco Feature - Indie Obsessive
Song Premiere: Travis Hayes – “Second Chances”- New Noise
SONG PREMIERE: TRAVIS HAYES DROPS DEFINING EMOTIONAL ANTHEM ‘HARROWED HEARTS” - Glide Magazine
Noise Pop announces additions to 2019 lineup - Riff Magazine
Emerging Artists Profile Travis Hayes at Jam Cellars - Napa Valley Register
Day 4: Loud As Folk cultivates kinship with Reno music - Tahoe On Stage
Bay Area musicians band together for 'After the Fire' benefit album release - The Press Democrat
The Family Crest, Travis Hayes, M. Lockwood Porter, more on North Bay fires benefit album - Riff Magazine
Your Weekend: November 1-November 4 - Petaluma360
MORE ON SLEEPLESS
“Two years ago, I had the wind knocked out of me. One of my closest friends was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Her light passed on, all went dark, and I was left lying awake at night, sleepless and unable to make sense of anything. I didn’t know what to do or how to cope so I wrote. I wrote, and I wrote, until I had exhausted all the fear, frustration and anger from my mind. Songwriting has always been this cathartic escape for me, but writing these songs was different. These songs were more than just songs: these songs saved my life. They gave me a place to be vulnerable, a place to be angry, a place to find hope. This album gave me a place to find my strength again. What started out as a laundry list of scary things that kept me up at night, became a collection of songs that detail the reasons that get me through each day.”
- Travis Hayes
2018: Launched and successfully funded Kickstarter pre-order campaign for new album Sleepless. Performed at the 2018 Off Beat Music Festival in Reno, NV with Blitzen Trapper (sold out show). Opened for Graham Coxon (of Blur) at August Hall in San Francisco, CA. Released "Whether Patterns (Acoustic)" on the After The Fire, Vol. 1 charity compilation. Added to State of the Art - Weekly Spotify playlist.
2017: Toured the United States, traveling over 15,000 miles between the West Coast and Midwest. Opened for The Record Company at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA (Live Nation - sold out show). Featured on the Music For Everyone benefit compilation alongside Taking Back Sunday and Anthony Green. Toured the Southwest and performed during SXSW '17. Performed at the 2017 Noise Pop Music Festival in San Francisco, CA with The Rural Alberta Advantage (sold out show).
2016: Released "Night Swimming (Reisender Remix)" on the Friends of Tricycle Records Compilation Vol. 6. Headlined the 2016 Ocean Beach Music and Art Festival in San Francisco, CA. Headlined The Independent in San Francisco, CA (Another Planet Entertainment). Special guest performer for the Phono del Sol Music + Food Festival brunch in San Francisco, CA. Headlined Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA. Performed at the 2016 Noise Pop Music Festival in San Francisco, CA with John Moreland (sold out show).
2015: Featured on The Bay Bridged's 10th Anniversary Compilation. Featured artist on Bandwagon's "Best of Year One" playlist. Featured artist in SF Weekly's 2015 Music Issue. Released Love Songs EP. Performed during SXSW ‘15 and was selected as one of Lucy Out Loud's "50 Acts You Won't Want To Miss at SXSW". Performed at the 2015 Noise Pop Music Festival in San Francisco, CA with Langhorne Slim (sold out show).
2014: Featured on the Friends of Tricycle Records Compilation Vol 4. Winner of The Deli Magazine - San Francisco's Artist of the Month. Released debut full length album Young Daze. Performed at the 2nd Annual Rock Out With Your Chalk Out benefit show with Chuck Ragan and Matt Skiba (of Blink-182 and Alkaline Trio). Performed during SXSW ‘14 and also toured California, Nevada and New York.