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Now that’s Country music!

Hayden Powell takes next step in music career with “Rio Grande”

DEWAYNE HOLLOWAY/dewayne@mcnews.online
Hayden Powell is doing his best to lead the country music industry into the future by taking it back to its roots. His new song, Rio Grande, is a perfect example of the tried and true country music the Liberty Road native writes, plays and sings on his way to a career in Country Music.
His newest single Rio Grande hearkens back to the ballads of Marty Robbins and Willie Nelson as it tells a story desperados and senoritas along the Rio Grande. Hayden said the song was inspired by a dream he had one night. He woke up and began writing what happened down. Before he knew it he had Rio Grande.
Rio Grande is the title song to his new album set to drop later this year. It is the first single to release and hit all streaming platforms July 30. The album should be available sometime between October and December.
Hayden is unapologetic about his “old school” sound. He doesn’t hate other styles of music being called country music, but he just thinks they would call it something else.
“Call it country pop, but not country and western. Country is Keith Whitley, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.” Hayden proclaimed.
Hayden didn’t start out with dreams of becoming a country singer. He shared that he just wanted to ride bulls and broncs and play guitar.
His musical journey sounds like one of many country icons. He recalled that his first musical memories are of his mom and dad singing and playing guitar at Alamo Baptist Church. The music quickly became his favorite thing about church and at around six or seven he said that he asked his dad for his first guitar.
Hayden started with a cheap Act One guitar. He said his dad showed him how to play a few notes and how to switch between them. He was then sent to his room and told to not come out until he could play them well.
“And 15 years later I came out of my room!” he joked.
He grew up listening to what would now be called “classic country” and that is what he learned to play. His dream as he grew into his teen years was to play lead guitar. He began playing with a few local bands and made his first big investment after sitting in with the Prairie Grove Band. He said the Mark Wilborg told him that if he was going to play lead he had to have a telecaster.
Hayden Powell releases Rio Grande on streaming platformsAt around $1,800 an American Telecaster was a big investment. He worked to earn enough to buy the guitar he felt he needed to achieve his dream of becoming a lead guitar player. He added that he didn’t know if his dad knew or not, but his mom spotted him a few dollars to get it. With the right guitar in his hands he started to grow as a guitar player.
He never wanted to sing, but at around age 14 he began moving from lead guitar to lead vocals. It happened one afternoon when he was supposed to be working on the farm, but had made his way to the music room instead.
Hayden said that he was playing and singing “Amazing Grace” when his dad came in looking for him. He figured he was in trouble when his dad asked, “Was that you singing?”
Hayden started putting his guitar up as he prepared to go to work when he said yes. He wasn’t ready for his father’s response when he said, “Where in the hell did that come from?” Hayden replied, “You and mom I guess.”
Looking back he said singing had always been in the back of his mind. One of his best memories was of his grandmother singing all the time.
His singing career really took a leap forward thanks to a BETA Club competition. He explained that he would take his guitar to school and play whenever he had free time. As word traveled a crowd began to gather when he would play. Paula Brookman, BETA Club sponsor, asked him to sing at the state convention. His friends Devin Deaton and Matthew Standridge talked him into performing and they traveled to the state convention as the “Caddo Cowboys.”
The first day of competition they took the stage in front of 2,000 people. He said he had never sang in front of a crowd, but when he sang George Strait’s “Carrying Your Love with Me” everyone stood up and started screaming.
“And that’s something you don’t forget. It hits you inside somewhere and you hold onto it.” He said.
They ended up winning the state competition and traveled to New Orleans for the national convention. While in New Orleans they sand in front of 16,000 people and he admitted that it got into his blood at that time.
“There’s something about a crowd screaming for you and they know you. It’s like a drug. The most addictive drug I think.” He said.
Hayden’s singing career was on the rise after that and looked as if he was going to hit it back immediately. A hometown concert and a promise of fame quickly turned into nothing. Hayden admits that the experience left a bad taste in his mouth and he considered giving his musical dreams up. Six months later he turned back to it and started taking it slow.
He and his band “The Caddo Cowboys” went through some changes, as he worked to find that right sound. About three years ago his big break came when he was invited to attend a Keith Whitley Memorial Show in Nashville. He loaded up in his mother’s car and ended up spending the night in the parking lot of the venue because he didn’t have enough money for a hotel room and gas home.
The show as a dream come true for Hayden and he admitted that it was surreal. All the performers were gathered backstage. He said it didn’t matter if you was just getting started, or an established star. Everyone is just a person backstage.
He remembered brushing up against Tim McGraw as took his turn on stage. Tim turned to him and told him that he was going to sit down and listen to him. Hayden sang his set and went backstage never expecting to speak to the legendary performer again. He said that he was getting some food after his set when someone asked him if he had tried the chicken wrap. He turned to see who it was and it was Tim McGraw.
He admitted that he didn’t like chicken wraps, but when Tim McGraw suggests you try one what do you do? You get one.
They ended up sitting down and talking about music and the industry. Before the night was over he was sitting backstage playing Tim McGraw and other legends of the industry along with other young artists. One of his favorite memories was getting to sing “Forever, and ever Amen” for Randy Travis. “Randy sand the Amen parts.” Hayden recalled.
The concert was a huge boost to his career and has helped him connect with many in the country music industry. He has since become good friends with Keith Whitley’s son Jesse Keith Whitley. Hayden has returned to play the memorial show again, most recently this year.
The final piece of the puzzle was songwriting. Hayden admitted that writing lyrics didn’t come easy, but after working at it he said it finally clicked about two years ago. Some songs take a long time to write, while others take a few minutes. As mentioned, his new song “Rio Grande” was the result of a dream.
As he looks to the future he would like to sign a big contract and take the country music industry by storm. However, he wants to stay true to himself. He wants to play his style of music and sing his songs.
When asked if he doesn’t get the opportunity to do it his way would he be happy with what he has done, he stated yes. He explained that when he listens to the album that he recorded in Norman Arkansas he knows he put his all into it and he is proud of the work he and everyone else put into it.
Hayden and the Caddo Cowboys continue to tour and have recently purchased a tour bus. They are busy playing shows in several surrounding states and most recently played the Palace Theater in Nashville, Tennessee.
If things work out for Hayden he says he would like to return to Liberty Road and give back to the community. His dream is to build a barn venue in Caddo Gap that would seat around 3,500 people so he would have a place to share his music with the community.
You can find “Rio Grande” on all music platforms beginning Friday, July 30. This should be the first of many great songs released by Hayden as his career continues to grow.

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