Meet... The Hails

By Meghan Gallagher

Gainesville saw them first. And now their song “Stay” is receiving its highest amount of listenership in Istanbul. What is in the Gainesville water that breeds nationwide-known musicians? Petty, Felder, Stills, Allman, Leadon, and now The Hails - the new rock band keeping the Gainesville scene truly unique.

The Hails are following the proverbial footsteps of Gainesville's extensive music history at what seems like an expeditious rate, but their success of reaching all 65 countries Spotify serves has not come without hard work. The past 3 years, the 5 friends playing music together have solidified inevitable fame. The best part about their success is perhaps the visceral nature in which they make music. Their vocalist Robbie Kinglsey’s comment after “Younger” reached 1 million streams on Spotify says it all, “For just five friends who like to make music together, this milestone means everything.”

Their unbridled writing process has resulted in ballad-like songs which stand out amongst compressed, simple pop songs polluting the radio. They prove you can be catchy, without being repetitive. “Inspiration can come anywhere at any time and in any shape so we like to let the spirit of the song dictate what it will become,” The hails guitarist and vocalist, Franco Solari, says. “Sometimes a line will come out of a melody or a lyric will inspire the music but generally our process
involves either myself or Dylan presenting music and some melodies to the band which we then flesh out together; Robbie will primarily contribute lyrics and melodies and the occasional chord progression but the key to our songs is collaboration.”

Not only could their songs win literary awards and make Bob Dylan proud, but they are remarkably versatile. They bounce flawlessly from a soulful bluesy “Bronco” to their groovy mellow tune “Parking Lot.” Gainesville has evidently moved on from being solely rock n’ roll to fostering music of all genres, as people no longer confine themselves to liking one genre, and The Hails have taken note. “After “Younger,” we began to reevaluate what we wanted our sonic direction to be and I think you will see that with “Stay” and the upcoming releases we are planning very soon. We hope to sit in a place, sonically, that straddles the line between many different styles. We see what’s going on with the move towards "genre-less" music with artists like Frank Ocean, Rex Orange County, H.E.R. among other up-and-coming acts, and I think we fit in somewhere alongside those acts,” Solari says.

We continue to remember the musical history of Gainesville but are not living in the past. The Hails are the perfect example of the continuous contributions to music the town is making. The legends can rest assured that college kids are still out here leaving impressions, experimenting with sound, making lots of noise and good music.

“Although none of us are Gainesville natives, being able to grow up as a band in this city has been supremely influential. To play in some of the same places as Tom Petty and other legends and to continue that legacy is a great honor. We had a chance to participate in the Tom Petty Tribute Concert at Heartwood after Tom's passing and we are grateful to have been given the opportunity.”

Every band must hit the road at some point though, and with graduation around the corner for some of the guys, they will be moving on from their college town that they say will be missed sorely. There really is no energy like a college town.

Be sure to check them out while they’re still local and be a part of history in the making. You’re sure to be mesmerized by The Hails beautiful melodies at the Heartwood Soundstage April 6, and High Dive April 19. April will also see a new song release, so stay tuned.

dave kosciolek