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.
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