Member Profile

Piper Hayes

Born in New York, raised in Toronto, and now residing in Hamilton since 2015, critically acclaimed folk/roots singer, songwriter and social activist Piper Hayes is truly authentic. On December 8, 2017, Hayes released her debut full-length album ‘Piper & Carson.’

Nowadays, Hayes (who is a two-time nominee for the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, 2016 and 2017) performs and writes closely with her partner Carson Ritcey-Thorpe and. After a 2017 western Canada tour, many prime showcases at FMO, FAl and soon to be official showcase artists at South East Regional Folk Alliance 2018 (SERFA), they have become beloved darlings of the folk music scene.

“the new collaboration retains strains of Hayes’ core musical shades from her previous work but this time out focuses on the roots and folk to let songs shine in all their rustic glory.” – Ric Taylor, VIEW Magazine cover story, December 7, 2017.

‘Piper & Carson’ will be available at shows, via Hayes’ website, Bandcamp, iTunes and more. The album was recorded live off the floor at Thorpe’s Organic Produce farm in Millgrove, ON (near Hamilton) in the summer of 2017. It was captured in the living room of the century-old Ritcey-Thorpe family farmhouse, with Toronto multi-instrumentalist Chris Bartos as producer (Kaia Kater, The Barr Brothers, Jonathan Byrd). It features Piper Hayes (lead vocal, rhythm guitar), Carson Ritcey-Thorpe (vocal, lead guitar), Kevin Neal (pedal steel), Leah Ritcey-Thorpe (back-up vocals) and Chris Bartos (upright bass, piano, electric and acoustic violin, electric guitar, Moog, vocals).

The first single “For All We Know” is about the celebration of life and death. Hayes states, “Seize the moment! To live fully we must embrace life’s unknowns, because for all we know…we only get one chance.”

Hayes got her start in legendary venues in Toronto including The Horseshoe Tavern, The Rivoli and The Cameron House (playing with artists including Abigail Lapell, Julian Taylor and Kevin Hearn). She has toured all over Canada and the USA, headlined three international tours (visiting Nepal, India, Holland, Scotland, Ireland, England, Iceland, Denmark, Italy, France, Spain and Greece), performed many times on VIA Rail’s national ‘Artists on Board’ program and played many folk conferences.

Piper also teams up with the Canadian Mental Health Association (going into schools, conferences and outreach programs to dispel stigma around mental illness), she established a music-therapy-based class for Hamilton Adult Community Support Program and gives workshops on mental health, well-being, music and songwriting.

Previously, Hayes has released her Danny Garcia produced ‘Live in NYC’ in 2013, her Mike Schlosser produced debut EP ‘Ain’t Nothin’ Like…’ in 2014 and her acclaimed 2016 EP ‘Goodbye Mister Nice Guy’ (“we couldn’t keep it off our charts” – Rachel Connell, CFMU FM).


More:

‘Piper & Carson’ reflects the couple’s last few years together, and it comes complete with lyrics and a detailed booklet insert, which includes stunning images taken at the farm by renowned Toronto photographer Lisa MacIntosh. “Carson’s sister Leah did a whimsical drawing of us as two lil’ manatee merpeople. I liked it so much, we used the caricatures for the album cover. I love when albums are a complete experience and I would like ‘Piper & Carson’ to grab people with not only the music, but also with the total artistic package,” says Hayes.

Fashioned like a flowing tide, these tracks weave a seamless story of life and death, compassion, kindness, standing up for what one believes, action and honouring ancestors. ‘Piper & Carson’ is also dedicated in loving memory to Piper’s mother Maggie Thompson Hayes, who passed away suddenly one year ago on November 25, 2016.


Artist Statement: Hayes states, “I am overjoyed and incredibly proud to release this piece of work to the world. This entire experience is different because three years ago I met Carson Ritcey-Thorpe. We began performing, dating and eventually writing together. We love making music together and ‘Piper & Carson’ reflects the life we’ve built. It is a collection of intentioned songs that are popular at our live shows, songs to heal and songs to remember.”

"Building community with their music"
- The View Hamilton (cover story, Ric Taylor, Dec 2017)

“We really enjoyed having Piper & Carson join us on Folk Roots Radio! Definitely check out the release shows in Hamilton and TO for the new album. Promises to be a couple of nights of great music!”
– Jan Hall, FolkRootsRadio.com, CFRU FM, November 2017

“In tandem with her partner Carson Ritcey-Thorpe, Piper has crafted a beautiful set of songs that pay tribute to her late mother. This is a thoughtful, beautiful album whose treasures are unlocked not only on the first listen, but on repeated spins. I look forward to hearing more work from Piper (and Carson!).”
– Great Dark Wonder , November 2017

“When she's not touring the world performing songs off her latest EP, she's spreading awareness for the Canadian Mental Health Association.”
– CTV’s Etalk (November 17, 2016)

“The Harmonies in tandem with Carson Ritcey-Thorpe were spot on and Hayes went in search of the vulnerability and the hope in the songs, burnishing them to a shine via her forceful vocals and from the gut lyrics.”
– Lenny Stout, Cashbox Canada