Country fans might not be familiar with the name Jeff Hyde, but they've most likely heard his tunes. Hyde is not only Eric Church's longtime acoustic guitar player, but a Grammy-nominated songwriting partner whose Number One hits include Church's vivid gems like "Springsteen" and "Record Year." Now Hyde is stepping out front with his own music.
A native of Marshall, Texas, Hyde has also written songs recorded by George Strait, Luke Bryan, Alan Jackson and more, but with the album Norman Rockwell World he lays down 10 of his best which, for whatever reason, never made it into the hands of a big-time star. The album comes out in February and with its first single "Henry Ford," Hyde presents a strong argument for why the name next to a song's title shouldn't really matter anyway.
With a stripped-down and subtle sonic approach, gently rolling strains of a finger-picked guitar accompany a warm vocal that conjures nostalgic images of the world Rockwell painted – one where actions spoke louder than words and some things were off limits. Placing the listener in the middle of the story, Hyde's bristling ballad doesn't mince words when it comes to rejecting modern celebrity culture. "Henry Ford" describes a reporter asking about an artist's personal life, but the artist pushes back. He believes some things are better left private.
"One of my all time favorite singers is Don Williams," Hyde explains. "He seemed to be a man of few words, but with that voice and talent, he carried a big stick. I heard him in an interview one time, when asked why he shied away from the public spotlight, reply, 'I've always felt like you don't have to know Henry Ford to drive one.'" That resonated with me. In this age of Facebook posts and Twitter accounts, which I realize can be useful at times, I still think there's value in letting your work speak for itself."
"Henry Ford" officially comes out January 12th, and Norman Rockwell World arrives on February 23rd.