Rising country stars make stop in area on radio tour
WAYNESBURG – Making a stop in Waynesburg on their national radio tour for their recently released duet, “Lay it On Me,” Alexandra Demetree and Wes Hayden talked about the collaboration, life on the road and their journey in country music. They will be performing Wednesday evening at Rinky Dinks Roadhouse in Amity.
Texas-born Hayden is best known for his stint on television on both the Bachelorette and the Bachelor Pad series.
Demetree, 27, originally wrote “Lay it On Me,” and recorded it as a solo project in 2010.
She and Hayden met through a mutual friend. When the pair ended up sharing the label, SSM Nashville Records, a duet was born. Hayden looked at the song with a different perspective, Demetree said.
“I knew it was missing something. It needed a rebuttal, the boy’s perception of what I was singing,” she said. Hayden provided the missing component by rewriting the second verse of the song. Hayden’s vocals and additional instruments were added to the recording, and a hit in the making was born. The single, released in July, recently charted at No. 76 and in one week bumped up a notch to No. 75 on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart.
“All last summer and fall I was on a radio tour and I liked it. I liked getting out and meeting everybody. I got to see a lot of the country that I wouldn’t have normally. When you live in the Nashville Bubble you don’t know what everyone is listening to around the country,” Demetree said. “Getting out there, you have the opportunity to ask what people are listening to and what they like.”
As they make their way up the east coast, Hayden accompanies them on his acoustic guitar but the official video for the song is much more dramatic. Filmed at the Belmont Mansion in Nashville, the setting adds to the intensity of the ballad.
Hayden and Demetree said their vocal styles, though very different, just seemed to fit perfectly for the duet, so they aren’t ruling out future collaborations. Hayden said he was heavily influenced as a child by the music of his all-time favorite band, the Eagles.
“I remember being about 3 or 4 and my parents were having a party. ‘One of These Nights’ was playing. I can still see our dark hallway and the light coming from where they were hanging out. Even then, I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” he said. “I begged and begged for a drum set for Christmas and they got me a guitar. I got the drum set a few years later. That’s really all I ever wanted to do, there wasn’t anything else, ever.”
Demetree also credited family for her musical roots.
“My mom is a singer. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t singing or when mom wasn’t singing with me,” she said. “I have great parents and two great brothers who are supportive of me and I feel really blessed in that aspect. Music has always been a part of our family.”
Demetree said she also gives a lot of credit to her high school chorus teacher who began to push her around the time she turned 14. She said she still keeps in touch with her and is so grateful for her help.
“It is just so important to have music in your life, in anyone’s life. If this totally came to a stop tomorrow, I’d sing in a choir or a band. It’s my happy place,” she said. “I thought about being a doctor for a little bit. I loved school. I am a dork that way. But, music would always trump whatever else it would be. I’m lucky to be calling this a job at the moment.”
The duo said they have a crossover in their musical tastes when it comes to the blues and country music. Hayden said he listens to whatever music fits his mood from country to classical rock but, like Demetree, he is certain he has to keep singing.
“There have been times when I have said, ‘This is it. I am done.’ I’ve put my guitar down for six months and never touched it, not even to just strum it while I’m watching television,” he said. “But, then I come back to it.”