Edwina Hayes goes the extra mile for Inverness gig
by Margaret Chrystall
YOU can see why Yorkshire singer songwriter Edwina Hayes might describe herself as the “driver of heavily-mileaged cars”.
The night before driving up to play MacGregor’s Bar, Inverness, she plays her 13th Valentine’s night in an East Yorkshire hostelry – “it’s three courses and me”. And after Inverness, it’s straight back down for the next night’s gig in Bolton, Lancashire.
“I drive my cars till they can’t carry on any more!” Edwina laughed. “When I started dong this in the 90s, the gigs would only be an hour up the road and home again.”
But Edwina loves being in her car, listening to CDs or the radio – she is a big fan of Radio Scotland. And she often comes up with ideas for songs.
“When I’m driving I quite often get a line of words and a melody – as if it is already from a song.
"If I still remember it when I get home, I will write it a melody.”
It’s been a long time since the singer – called “the sweetest voice in England” by American country star Nanci Griffith who invited Edwina to tour with her – has brought out an album. Life got in the way.
There were some close family deaths which put Edwina’s plans to record on hold.
But now she has more new songs and plans to get a new album out later this year.
The singer has supported big names such as Van Morrison and Nanci Griffith.
Her cover of Randy Newman’s song Feels Like Home has earned over eight million views on YouTube after featuring in Cameron Diaz film My Sister’s Keeper.
But with no agent or manager, Edwina still seems to enjoy the daily rhythm of organising herself: “When I started, I wanted to do my gigs for a living and that happened in 2007.
So this is living the dream and everything else is a bonus.”
Playing late on at the former Beverley Folk Festival, Edwina came across Inverness Blazin' Fiddles musician and promoter Bruce MacGregor – also playing there – and he invited her to come to the Northern Roots festival.
That led – again through Bruce, Edwina says – to her invitation to teach songwriting skills at Highland writers’ centre Moniack Mhor and she enjoyed the experience so much, she is developing her own songwriting events.
A songwriting session brought Edwina together with two other friends – later they became three-piece The Mile Roses.
But when the others wanted to go fulltime, Edwina opted out to focus back on the solo life.
Edwina Hayes plays MacGregor’s Bar tonight (Friday, February 15)