Blue Water Highway
Blue Water Highway runs just outside of Freeport up towards Galveston along the Texas Gulf Coast. This is the part of the world where the cultures of Texas and Louisiana collide in a unique melting pot steeped in the traditions of the people of both states. It is here, in the town of Lake Jackson, TX, that Zack Kibodeaux and Greg Essington became high school friends after Zack witnessed Greg playing Billy Joel's "Piano Man," and immediately enrolled in piano lessons himself. Their partnership included performing in musicals and local coffee shops, until the friends went their separate ways after high school. Greg headed to New York City to pursue a degree in music technology. Zack went to Texas State in San Marcos to study vocal performance, specifically opera. Soon, Zack was writing songs and sending them to his friend in New York. Finally, he coaxed Greg back to Texas to form the band he had been hearing in his head. Although they had landed in their adopted hometown of San Marcos, when it came time to name the band the first thing that came to mind was the landmark back home on the coast.
The two dubbed the band, Blue Water Highway Band, and began to create a sound as unique as the region they came from.
Finding the right group of people to complete the band came with its own set of challenges. Zack turned to Catherine Clark, a fellow opera singer, to complete the three part harmonies that the band would soon to be known for. Kyle James Smith was enlisted as the bassist and Zach Landreneau joined on keyboards, lap steel, guitar, accordion, and pretty much any other instrument you can think of. The band released a self-titled,six song, EP in 2013 and then followed that up with the full length LP “Things We Carry” in 2015. This album featured the single “Medicine Man” that quickly became the closing song in an increasingly popular live show.
The band tours across the US on a regular basis and continues to define themselves as a live act built on excellent musicianship, great songs, and that signature three part harmony that sets the band apart from their peers. They recently finished a new record that will be released in early 2018 with the producer known and Machine. The new record explores new sounds and musical landscapes while remaining true to their roots along the Blue Water Highway.
“Root bounded music, with contemporary drive.” – Cindy Cashdollar
"Like Lucinda Williams in a Carhartt jacket, Christy Hays works rugged metaphors into emotionally charged country folk." (Austin Chronicle). Christy Hays’ music has folk and country tinges, thoughtfully penned stories and a full band sound that is both driving alt country and moody folk rock. Christy Hays has released two full length albums and two EP's since 2009.
Her new album ‘River Swimmer’ is due out in April of 2018 on Nine Mile Records. It brings the culmination of Christy’s influences and her experiences traveling the world.
Born in rural central Illinois, Christy Hays never really aspired to be a working songwriter.
Hays grew up somewhat surrounded by music, her father, a luthier and guitar player showed her the major chords on her old Gibson. There was no pressure to play but music was a centerpiece.
"I left Illinois in my early 20's, directly after college. I graduated in December and moved to Haines, Alaska in April." says Hays, squinting into the sun on a bright spring day in Texas. "I was really disillusioned buy our society and wanted to go live in the woods."
Living seasonally, traveling in the US as well as abroad in the winters Hays essentially spent the better part of her 20's in an alternative lifestyle where she came to the conclusion science was not her calling, rather music was. "I reached a point where songwriting and the art of self expression surrounding the craft were more important than the wilderness. I moved briefly to Memphis, then to Nashville in 2007." explains Hays. Nashville was an awakening, a crash course in music business and performance. One she was not prepared for as city living depressed her and stage fright consumed her.
After two years in Nashville the decision was made to move to Austin, TX. "Austin felt more my speed and my vibe. I loved the country music and songwriters that were coming out of here in the late 2000's. I felt at home shortly after I got here, I grew up musically and found a great community to collaborate with." recalls Hays.
Hays has shared the stage with Hayes Carll, Sturgil Simpson, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis and Jeffery Foucault to name a few. Bruce Robison cut her song "Lake of Fire" and released it on his newest album Bruce Robison and the Back Porch Band.
Hays now spends portions of the summer in Montana, gigging in the Northwest, writing and returning to her beloved wilderness. Hays dreams of creating an artist retreat out of that house for people just like her who need to escape the city, disappear and create. Compared to Brandi Carlile, Lucinda Williams, Rhett Miller, Kathleen Edwards and Patty Griffin, Hays has a sound uniquely her own.
Hays has released two full length albums and two EP's since 2009.