Hayes Travels New 'Roads' On Sophomore CD

Irish rock starlet Gemma Hayes traveled from her fabled home county of Tipperary to Los Angeles to record her sophomore set, "The Roads Don't Love You."

Irish rock starlet Gemma Hayes traveled from her fabled home county of Tipperary to Los Angeles to record her sophomore set, "The Roads Don't Love You." The EMI set arrived late last month internationally and is due for North American release next spring via Astralwerks.

The title refers to the havoc that endless touring plays with the mind, although it was actually the cold turkey from the routine that knocked Hayes sideways.

"Sometimes when you come off the road, you get the blues," she tells Billboard.com. "Your days are no longer planned and you don't know what on earth you're going to do with your life. I put my guitar up against a wall in my house and it stayed there for a year. But I got to hang out with my friends again, which was important because you lose contact with people when you're out on the road."

Hayes then retreated to the rural isolation of County Kerry in Ireland before heading to Los Angeles, where she enlisted Joey Waronker to produce the album and to help her round up a bunch of musicians whose work she admired: Josh Klinghoffer (PJ Harvey), Roger Manning Jr. (Beck's keyboardist) and Cedric Le Moyne (Remy Zero's bassist).

"I initially auditioned Joey to play drums on the album," explains Hayes. "By the by, he handed me this album which he said was the first thing he ever produced. I looked at the CD and I couldn't believe it -- it was Lisa Germano's 'Lullaby for Liquid Pig,' which I'd spent the whole year listening to! So he said, 'In that case, I'd like to produce your album.' I said, 'Absolutely.'"

"Roads" is the follow-up to 2002's "Night on My Side," which earned a nomination for the U.K.'s Mercury Music Prize. Lead single "Happy Sad" was inspired, Hayes explains, by the picture on a Golden Republic CD sleeve.

"They had this EP called 'People,' where there was a photo of a goofy 13-year-old girl with a big nose and big ears on a dance floor on her own while everybody else around her was kissing and slow dancing," Hayes said. "So she's standing there and looking into the camera and she's just really sad."

"So I decided to write this song from her perspective," she continues. "And then it became about being in school and people thinking you're strange because you're quiet -- walking around not really knowing who you are."

Hayes has just finished a tour of the United Kingdom supporting, which regularly played 3,000-seat venues. U.S. audiences will have to wait until next year to see Hayes live.

"I might do the odd acoustic show in Los Angeles, where I live, just to keep the machine well-oiled," says Hayes. "But there won't be any major tours in the States till next year. We're aiming to have the album out there for May."