"This is a song that I co-wrote with Gemma Hayes, who is shamefully unsigned," Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz said before launching into the band's new track "Washington Square Park" in front of

"This is a song that I co-wrote with Gemma Hayes, who is shamefully unsigned," Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz said before launching into the band's new track "Washington Square Park" in front of an intimate audience at the Apple Store in New York's Soho.

Indeed, Hayes had given Duritz the impressive piano line to the song, which is a highlight on the Crows' new Geffen set, "Saturday Nights/Sunday Mornings."

"After a gig, we all went back to our hotel and I sat down and played this line on a piano that was there in the lobby," Hayes says. She previously opened for the rock troupe in the United Kingdom and Ireland. "I just told Adam, 'Here, you can have it. I've had it for too long, so I'm obviously not going to do anything with it.' "

The Irish singer/songwriter has made famous friends, too, like My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields, who invited her to play at the MBV-curated All Tomorrow's Parties festival Sept. 21 in upstate New York. Shields and such songwriters as Paul Noonan can also be heard on Hayes' self-released album, "The Hollow of Morning," due May 2 in Ireland and May 5 in England.

The album, produced by David Odlum, is Hayes' third full-length and the first since her parting from Virgin in the United Kingdom. "I learned a lot from going from an indie subsidiary to being a major-label artist. It's all about the people you have backing you. I have a lot of ideas now of how [releasing an album] should go," she says.

Hayes also hopes it will be her first wide release in the United States, the country she calls her second home. Though she released her Mercury Prize-nominated "On My Side" in 2003 in America on a limited basis, she hopes to attract labels to the impressive and delicate effort here by touring major cities this summer.