Piper Hayes is a husband and wife duo based in Hamilton, Ontario.  I saw them perform in a most surprising venue, in a dining cafe on a cross Canada train journey … right on the train.  This is through VIA’s Artists on board program, a really great idea on the part of VIA Rail.  Piper Hayes were very well received by the necessarily small, but enthusiastic audience, in spite of the noise of the rails, and occasional passenger walk throughs.  Their performance would have been repeated four times on the different dining cars on this particular VIA train.  Piper’s songs reflect on broad social concerns, but in a positive way – the importance of community, social progress and justice.  They don’t so much declaim about the issues of the day, but point to a way forward.  Other songs are more introspective, humorous and touching.  The melodies exhibit a pop influence, are tuneful and accessible, and there’s plenty of room for audience participation.

I was surprised to learn that while Piper Hayes has performed in local venues, they are not yet known on the festival circuit.  Their youtube videos also still have fairly low view counts.  They certainly deserve wider popularity, and as with so many musical performers in the folk/indie genre, the ‘live’ impact of the performance does not fully translate to the recordings you see here.

Here is a bit of how they sounded in the rail car.

And here’s an official release on youtube.



I have blogged about my VIA Rail journey on the “Canadian” here.