When Hayden and Kenny Miles first played in a band together, they were only eight and thirteen.
Their father had founded a church in their hometown Whitesburg in SouthEast
Kentucky and they were backing the services on drums and bass. Music has been an essential part in the family for
over three generations. Hayden learned how to play the drums by watching his uncle and Kenny was
taught by his father and cousin. Even their grandparents were singing and playing instruments. Life
revolved around three pillars: family, hard work, and music.
Still nowadays, Whitesburg is an isolated place. The area, and that's a scientific fact, has one of the
lowest qualities of life in all of the US. Since the mid 1970s the area is in a state of constant
recession. Lowest per capita income, shortest life expectation, firm republican domination. The
name Wayne Graham is a composition of both their grandfather's first names.
Both were coal miners as well as Kenny's and Hayden's father and uncle.
The latter actually witnessed the violent riots of the
United Mine Workers Union Strikes, which were put into pictures by Barbara Kopple in her Oscar
winning film HARLAN COUNTY, USA .
The answer to how the two brothers and their delicate and ornery Alternative Country fit into that
picture is rather simple: they don't. There's a bit of Hard Rock in the area but apart from that, music
mostly takes place in churches. Ideally, it ought to be kept strictly 'oldtimey'.
Wayne Graham's album "Mexico" the
first one to be released in Europe is
already their fourth,
even though the two brothers are only 26 and 21 .It's not entirely clear whether it is their upbringing
or the feeling of being cut off from the rest of the world but the album oozes a seemingly supernatural
maturity, "Mexico" , is concise and clever. Extremely catchy but never mundane. Artistic but not
overly intellectual .
The songs are often rather short and the remarkable, airy production , which takes place in the
basement of their parents' house, feels like an excercise in reduction. Beautiful chords and melodies ,
an incredibly melodic style of drumming and always at the right moment, wayward little details,
breaks and lyrics , written for eternity.
When asked about it, Songwriter Kenny Miles modestly states that he doesn't want to steal their
audience's time. Eventually, his songs are like answers to questions, which might not have been
asked in the first place.
Thematically, Mexico circles around the tragic death of their best friend last October. The first
verse of the title track goes: "It was in your bloodstream on the day you died, til they replaced it with
formaldehyde." The It
in almost all of these songs but is never properly named. It is not
a substance nor a trait, but the mystic connection between the three friends , which have played
music together since their early childhood. Fellow Man tells the story of one of their last nights
endless late night front porch conversation, when suddenly they hear a clicking sound
approach. It turns out to be a wolf walking down the nightly streets of Whitesburg, passing them
by as they sit breathless on their their porch. Here's how Kenny Miles puts it into words: "Like the
wolf outside we are led by desire, we are ruled by by the time we have lost." And suddenly one gets
reminded that music actually possesses these abilities: to express something beyond pitiful facts
and numbers, an essence of something grand and almost unthinkable.