Sean Hayes: rhythm and blues and folk at Lopez Center

Sean Hayes has a distinct voice: a little rough around the edges but smooth as butter in the center.

He says what inspires him musically is “always moving and changing.”

“Right now the piano has grabbed a hold,” said Hayes. “The piano is laid out so beautifully – like playing sonic chess with yourself. I also love rhythm and just primal music that makes you want to move. I love seeing my kids dance. They are four and six, and it is such an honest expression.”

Hayes is performing at the Lopez Center at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 28. Tickets can be purchased online at or purchased at the Lopez Center office, Paper Scissors on the Rock, Blossoms Organic Grocery, or the Lopez Bookshop.

The singer-songwriter will also be hitting the Orcas Center stage on Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $2 off for members at

Last year, Hayes played a sold-out solo performance at Woodmen Hall. This year’s concert adds his band, Jason Carr on bass and Jamie Moore on drums, to step up the pace. He is no stranger to Lopez, Hayes has friends and family who live on the island.

“Low Light,” the eighth album from Hayes, was recorded both at his Northern California home and in the studio. The record moves through genres, incorporating the pulse and yearning of rhythm and blues with the low-fi grit and crackle of folk.

In his 20-year career as a San Francisco-based musician, Hayes has won acclaim from fans and critics alike. He’s played with Aimee Mann, toured with Ani DiFranco and the Cold War Kids, been covered by The Be Good Tanyas and re-mixed by DJ Mark Farina, and had his music featured in commercials, films and a variety of television shows, including “Brothers and Sisters,” “Bored to Death” and “Parenthood.” He has been interviewed by NPR and The California Report.

“If you like lyrics and emotion then you can sit back and let the songs take you on a journey but I also try to give the songs a beat and something to move your body around if you like that,” said Hayes. “I just put the music out and let the audience decide.”