Haley Slagle Goes Solo
Photographed by Eric Clutter
Haley Slagle’s self-titled solo EP originated from the unusual idea of recording an album backwards—laying down vocal tracks first and then writing and recording guitar and drum parts. “I would sing the song to a click track and then we would decide what would come next. The drums and bass were recorded last, which is a pretty unconventional way to make a record,” Haley says.
Haley is most well-known for her live performances and recordings with Billy Matheny and the Frustrations and Half Broke Horses, now defunct. Haley and guitarist Jeremy Batten, also of The Ultimatums, formed a tight-knit musical bond writing songs and performing in Half Broke Horses, and Jeremy has been a big influence on her solo project. “I never really gave much thought to recording a solo record, so when Jeremy had the idea of recording a record around the lyrics, I had a lot of material that I thought would work for a project like that,” she says.
“Haley is a ridiculously talented songwriter,” Jeremy says. “We started playing together in Half Broke Horses in a band context, but there were all these other songs and ideas that I was really struck by. I don't remember when, but at some point, I simply suggested she do a ‘Haley Slagle’ thing.”
Jeremy and Haley started recording the album in summer 2012 and finished early in 2013. The vocals, guitars, electric bass, and keyboard were all recorded in Jeremy’s bedroom with Haley and Jeremy switching off in the sound engineer role. Upright bass and piano tracks were recorded at Faith United Methodist Church in Fairmont, where Jeremy is the worship leader and Haley has attended since she was a kid.
Amidst its alternative country style, the self-release has a sense of strength tinged with sadness and confessional lyrics mixed with poignant vocal harmonies. “I’d like to say there’s not an autobiographical element to the songs, but that would be a lie,” Haley says. “All of the songs on the record are about experiences from my life—either about people I’ve encountered or situations I’ve been in personally, and for some reason, they’re all sad. I really struggled to write an up-tempo happy song as I seemed to be lacking in that category. I came up with ‘You Can’t Chase A Shadow,’ which is up-tempo but a little tragic in subject matter. So I’m still chasing that elusive happy song.”
Haley hopes to release a full-length record next year, and she plans to start recording in May. Billy Matheny is also going to be heavily involved with the production of the full-length record, she says. Haley’s EP is available on iTunes, Reverbnation, and at haleyslagle.com.
SEE HALEY LIVE:
Friday, February 8, 2013, 9 p.m., with Billy Matheny, at Donkey Coffee, Athens, Ohio
Saturday, February 9, 2013, 9:30 p.m., opening for 600 Lbs of Sin, at Adelphia Music Hall, Marietta, Ohio
Saturday, March 2, 2013, 9 p.m., at Black Sheep Burrito & Brews, Huntington, WV
Saturday, March 23, 2013, 9 p.m., with Billy Matheny and the Frustrations, at Gene's Beer Garden, Morgantown, WV
Saturday, March 30, 8 p.m., with Andrea Nardello, at Coffee Works, Vorhees, NJ
Saturday, April 20, 8:30 p.m., with Andrea Nardello, at Gene's Beer Garden, Morgantown, WV
Saturday, June 8, 2013, 1:30 p.m., with Johnny Statts, at Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV