WANT TO GO?
SHOW I: 8:30 p.m. Friday at the W.Va. Interstate Fair & Expo in Mineral Wells. Tickets $9. Visit www.wvinterstatefair.org.
SHOW II: 8 p.m. Saturday at the Putnam County Fair in Eleanor. Tickets $8. Visit www.putnamcountyfairwv.com.CHARLESTON, W.Va. --Country sensation Hunter Hayes is acutely aware that the bar is set very high for him. He would know; he's the one who set it -- even if he wasn't aware of what he was doing at the time.
The 20-year-old, who plays the West Virginia Interstate Fair & Expo in Mineral Wells Friday and the Putnam County Fair Saturday, first came into the public consciousness at the age of 4 when Hank Williams, Jr. brought him on stage to perform together.
A year or so later, Hayes landed a small role in Robert Duvall's film, "The Apostle." Duvall gave Hayes, who already played the accordion and drums, his first guitar.
A series of television appearances followed. Before he was out of the second grade, Hayes had appeared on Nickelodeon, as well as the talk shows of Maury Povich and Rosie O'Donnell. By the time he was 16, the Louisiana native had moved to Nashville with his parents and was signed to Universal Records as a songwriter.
The youthful performer has come a long way, if not in a short time, at least at a young age.
Hayes laughed about it all then added, "Yeah, no pressure."
He doesn't mean it, of course. As a young man with a lot of talent and major music resources backing him, a lot is expected of him, but that's OK.
"I definitely know the pressure is there," he said. "But for me, tomorrow night's show has to be way better than last week's show. That's just for me to be happy with myself when I walk back on the bus."
Improving, however, is hard. Part of performing on tour is sticking to a schedule and following a routine, which he's a fan of. Hayes said he's kind of committed to his nightly set list.
"But things change every night. I'll try a different guitar on a different amp, try different vocal melodies and every once in a while, I squeak in a couple of surprises into the show."