|Cover of Colting's first single|
BBR head Jon Lorba signed Hayson to his deal on the condition that he write all songs on his own. "We feel that in the burgeoning Americana market, authenticity is a necessity." explained Lorba "Our expectations are that the roots music fan has a certain disrespect for artists whose songs are written 'by committee' or co-written with big name mainstream writers, so think it's important Hayson be 'real,' as they say."
Colting, a Madison, MS native formerly known as Hayes Colson, certainly has the stereotypical geographic bonafides to count as a hard-scrabble, backwoods upbringing, though as a theater student and debate team leader at his private school, he's had to dig deep to find his "dirt road cred."
"Trains… naw, did that. Crystal meth… no, mama wouldn't like that… Alcoholism! That's it…" Colting brainstorms aloud at his scheduled morning solo writing session. "This is so hard; I mean, I'm from way out in the county, past the golf course even… but to be honest, once I get barbed wire and dusty boots worked into a chorus, my eyes start glazing over."
After the writing session, Colting is instructed to doff his Kuhl shorts and Yeti tee, in lieu of a more work-strained look for his post-lunch photo shoot. His trendy hair-style is straightened then frazzled into an expertly unkempt do. A ratty plaid, dirty jeans, and some Wolverine work boots complete the look as he's swept off to a grain elevator for three hours of posing.
"We've got big plans for this guy… look at him… the girls are gonna eat this up and the guys are gonna want to hunt snipe with him." beams Wheelhouse marketing director Lucy Matthews as Colting casts a smoldering frown from the silo catwalk.
Hayson, for his part, seems less confident, as he climbs down from the railing. "I'm excited and I know I can sing; shoot I nailed my half of "Almost Paradise" when we did Footloose my senior year." "I'm just worried people aren't going to think I'm genuine enough" says Colting with a nervous laugh, dusting sorghum dust from his denim.
At press time, Colting had completed "Drinkin' Ain't That Hard" and was finishing up his final cut, a murder ballad based on Legally Blonde the Musical.