WHO CAN IT BE NOW AT THE RECORD STORE?

colin-hay-aWith a new CD to promote, hard-working singer, songwriter and storyteller Colin Hay visits Jack’s Music Shoppe during Record Store Day on Saturday.

By TOM CHESEK

Do not under any circumstances exile him to the sad but sun-kissed island of the One Hit Wonders. Nor should you rank him with Crocodile Dundee, Aussie Rules Football and other once-trendy pursuits of some long-ago moment. Besides, his 1980s group Men at Work scored not one but two Number One hits (“Who Can It Be Nowand the anthemic “Down Under“), plus a whole slew of other international chartbusters.

Whatever you do, however, never suggest that Colin Hay is a trafficker in nostalgia — at least not the sort of candied nostalgia that comes swaddled in big hair and shoulder pads, and uncomplicated by the emotional currents and dancing reflections that course through his latest release, Gathering Mercury.

This Saturday afternoon, April 16, the Scottish-born Guy From Down Under visits Jack’s Music Shoppe on Broad Street in Red Bank for an in-store appearance that’s slated as the sweet-spot attraction in the annual celebration known as Record Store Day (and yes, it’s a worldwide holiday).
Faithful fans know Colin Hay as a man who long since clawed his way out from under the suffocating fate of a Pop-Up Video trivia feature. In fact, a whole generation of latter-day audiences may just as easily recognize Hay from the long-running sitcom Scrubs — to which he contributed music for numerous episodes, even making occasional on-camera appearances —as from his heavy-rotation videos of the 1980s.

When the singer, songwriter and guitarist with the gruffly melodic voice comes to the greater ‘green, he’ll be taking the store-nook stage at Jack’s (and following up Saturday night with a full-length concert at Monmouth University) as a performer with more than twenty years worth of solo recordings and performances to his credit — plus more than a few “hilarious, poignant, and downright surreal” stories.

As focused upon the future as the artist has become here on this side of the millennium, his newly issued eleventh solo disc finds Hay in a reflective mood — a set that touches upon the mortal thoughts, severed roots and missed opportunities that accrue over time, with several of the succinctly arranged songs (“Dear Father,” “Family Man,” “Where the Sky is Blue”) inspired by the 2010 death of his father, himself a musician in his younger days.

Still, despite the misty-blue melancholy that’s echoed in the album graphics, Hay remains an entertainer who confesses that  “I don’t want to bring you down/ And I still get to play from town to town/ There is still magic all around/And when I hit the ground I’m running.”

The rocker/ raconteur will be signing copies of the new disc and giving a taste of a well-honed solo acoustic set that intersperses songs old and new with stories from the neverending road, an outsider perspective on American life, and recollections of “his often unbelievable experiences over the past three decades.”

In addition to the Say-Hay Kid, Jack’s manager Chris Van Orden reports that Saturday’s event will also feature live DJs working the spiral scratch; an intro public appearance by the area’s all-new flat track roller derby squad The Red Bank Roller Vixens (10a to 1p); along with a self-serve taco station from SurfTaco plus coffee and pastries from Zebu Forno. More info and updates on Record Store Day at Jack’s can be gleaned right here — and take it here for tickets for the 8p concert and post-show Q&A at Monmouth U’s Pollak Theatre.

[Disclosure: redbankgreen entertainment writer is doing freelance publicity work for Monmouth U.]