Bringing The World Home To You

© 2024 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Colin Hay on Mountain Stage

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

What happens when one is laid off, at home during a pandemic? In the case of former Men at Work lead singer and formidable solo artist Colin Hay, you pick up the guitar and wax nostalgic for songs that shaped them along a long and winding road.

Hay came on the Mountain Stage and immediately employed the crowd, having them join him in singing the chorus of "Come Tumbling Down," from his 2017 album Fierce Mercy, before digging into the jewel case of covers.

Hay, who also tours with Ringo Starr's All-Star Band, said his fourteenth album, I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, was pandemic born – resulting in the shelving of an album of originals.

"I thought I would record an album of songs that informed and inspired me for all my life," says Hay. "I was lucky enough to grow up in a music shop that my mother and father had between the years 1958 and 1967 in Scotland."

Like a series of faded Polaroid snapshots, Hay's transcendental tenor poured out on covers selected from pivotal moments in his life. Songs like The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset," was playing over the pier sound system as a then 14-year old Hay, got on a ship to travel far away from his home in Scotland to Australia.

Hay also shared songs from other chapters of his life, including "Overkill" from his wild, three-year run with the Australian-chart-topping Men at Work, who won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1983 before disbanding in 1986.

Hay also shared the title cut of his unreleased album, Now in the Evermore, set to be released this year.

"Now In the Evermore was also inspired by the fact that I was sitting around with this potentially deadly virus out there," Hay told the audience. "If you feel something for someone you should tell them, because you don't know what is around the corner."

Hay proudly introduced himself and his band as one "full of immigrants," thanking his wife Cecilia Noël (background vocals and percussion) for introducing him to their incredibly talented Cuban bandmates: San Miguel Perez (guitar/tres/vocals), Yosmel Montejo (bass/vocals) and Jimmy Branly (drums), and the Guatemalan artist Scheila Gonzalez (keyboard/flute/sax/vocals).

Hay closes out his set with an exquisite rendering of his hope-filled song, "Waiting For My Real Life to Begin" from his 1994 album, Topanga.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Dave Lavender
More Stories