Last year, as country music singer-songwriter Hunter Hayes stepped out on stage at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa in front of a sold-out audience, he said it felt like the right time to try out some new tunes.
Feeling brave, the band launched into its rockin’ cut “Yesterday’s Song,” the lead single off of Hayes’ forthcoming third full-length record, which the 25-year-old said he hopes will be out by the fall.
“Honestly, that was one of my favorite gigs of the year,” he said during a recent phone chat, before he returns to the area to headline House of Blues Anaheim on Friday, May 19, and perform as part of the Malibu Guitar Festival on Saturday, May 20.
“That’s a show we still talk about because it was such a great turnout, I mean, you always hope and pray for the best, but that was in the middle of a creative chapter for me so it was such a blessing to get a reception like that,” he continued. “To have that many people show up and sing along to the old stuff that they all knew and be totally into the new stuff we were putting out there, it was a dream show for sure. It was very good for the soul.”
Of course, Hayes is no stranger to Southern California gigs. He headlined the old House of Blues Anaheim location in the past and cut his teeth opening for Taylor Swift on her Speak Now Tour for four nights at Staples Center in Los Angeles in 2011, supporting Carrie Underwood at that same venue in 2012 and playing with Lady Antebellum at a sold-out stop at Irvine Meadows in 2015.
Having released two critically acclaimed albums, his 2011 self-titled debut and 2014’s “Storyline,” which spawned hits like “I Want Crazy,” “Wanted” and “Invisible,” Hayes said he really challenged himself when it came to writing the new material. Over the course of two years, he penned 100 songs, which he paired down significantly as he headed into the studio to record. Not wanting fans to have to wait too long for fresh music, he released a trio of new songs during a three-week span back in September, including “Yesterday’s Song,” “Amen” and “Young Blood.”
“I had to release ‘Yesterday’s Song’…