Boasting two expressive lead vocalists -- Kevin Karg and singer/songwriter Richard Kaufmann -- the Rolling Hayseeds were an earthy, Philadelphia-based band that focused on roots rock, indie rock, and alternative country-rock in the '90s. The Rolling Hayseeds (as opposed to the Rolling Stones) weren't well-known nationally, but they did attract some attention on the Philly scene and enjoyed some favorable coverage from the alt-country/No Depression crowd. The Hayseeds weren't the first band singer/songwriter Kaufmann was involved with; in the late '80s, he sang lead for a Philly based alternative rock/indie rock outfit called Electric Love Muffin. After providing three albums in the late '80s -- two for Buy Our Records and one for Restless -- Electric Love Muffin broke up in the early '90s. And a few years later, Kaufmann became a lead singer and acoustic guitarist for the Hayseeds, whose other members included Kevin Karg (lead and background vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, acoustic piano, mandolin), Mike Frank (electric bass), Jon Kelsey (drums, percussion, background vocals), Mark Tucker (electric and acoustic guitar, Dobro), and Ralph Johnson (drums, background vocals, electric, and acoustic guitar). Like Electric Love Muffin, the Hayseeds were relevant to the indie rock scene. But while Muffin had a punk influence, the Hayseeds favored a twangy, down-home approach and had influences that ranged from Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, the Byrds, and John Cougar Mellencamp to Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard. In the mid-'90s, the Hayseeds signed with Record Cellar, a small indie label based in Bala Cynwyd, PA (one of the upscale suburbs on Philly's Main Line). Record Cellar released the Hayseeds' debut album, Tangled Up in You, in 1996, and in 1999, the label put out their sophomore album, No Place Like Home. The latter was produced by George Manney, a Philly based producer/engineer who has also worked with alternative rockers Burn Witch Burn (the band that includes former Dead Milkmen singer Rodney Linderman). The Hayseeds' second album turned out to be their last; after two albums, the band broke up. In the early 2000s, Kaufmann became a full-time solo artist but continued to record for Record Cellar. His first solo outing, Common Senses, was produced by Manney in 2001 and came out the following year. Meanwhile, Karg left Philly for New York after the Hayseeds' breakup and went on to play with various Big Apple bands, including the Hangdogs and Star City.
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