Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee

Biography by

Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee are an East London based country and bluegrass quartet made up of indie rockers, and something of a side project supergroup spearheaded by cult songwriter Darren Hayman…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee are an East London based country and bluegrass quartet made up of indie rockers, and something of a side project supergroup spearheaded by cult songwriter Darren Hayman of the beloved, defunct indie pop band Hefner. Hayman, who has also recorded as a solo artist and as a member of the French, came up with the idea of starting a bluegrass group with Dave Watkins, of the band Pete & the Egg, at a 2005 dinner party. With Watkins deciding to learn banjo for the occasion, and Hayman electing to stick with bass, they invited Simon Trought of Tompaulin (because he owned a mandolin) and John Lee of B-Monster (despite the fact that he'd barely heard of bluegrass) and the original lineup was in place. They learned to play some covers and played some live shows, taking a deliberately informal, unambitious attitude, with the loose guiding concept of sharing writing and vocal duties, and no particular plans to record. That changed with the band's lineup: Trought and Lee departed after a year or so and were replaced by violinist Dan Mayfield (of Enderby and Ellis Island Sound and, like Watkins, a member of Hayman's backing group the Secondary Modern) and Dave Tattersall of the Wave Pictures. This new lineup held on to the original, now-inaccurate name, but introduced a higher level of musicianship and formality to the proceedings, enough so that they decided to record a full-length document of their work. Their self-titled album, recorded over a weekend at Hayman's house, appeared on Fortuna POP! in 2008, featuring a handful of originals, some traditional instrumentals, and covers of Townes Van Zandt, Huey "Piano" Smith, and the Mountain Goats.