What a long, strange trip it’s been for Hay, whose new record actually includes a song called I’m Going To Get You Stoned. He went from Scotland to Australia and then the top of the US charts with Men At Work, but mega success was followed by mega indifference – Hay even called one of his albums Peaks & Valleys (“Every artist has peaks and valleys,” a major music lawyer told him after his first solo album flopped. “You’re in a f-cking big valley.”).
Creatively, though, Hay has never slipped, and Fierce Mercy is another fine record, and perhaps his most musically adventurous since his solo debut 30 years ago. I’m Walking Here incorporates a rap; a horn solo punctuates She Was The Love Of Mine; chiming piano introduces the gorgeous A Thousand Million Reasons; strings send Secret Love soaring; and Blue Bay Moon is a lovely country excursion. Hay is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Neil Finn and Paul Kelly, but he should be – he’s one of the greats. “When life has no certainty,” he concludes, “I stick to the melody.”
Fierce Mercy is out now via Compass Records/Sony.