Colin Hay may be best known as the lead singer for Men At Work, the platinum selling Australian band that topped worldwide charts in the 80s with anthems like “Down Under,” “Overkill,” and “Who Can It Be?” Hay’s justifiably proud of his place in pop history, but since moving to Los Angeles in 1989, he’s made 11 solo albums and he reckons that Gathering Mercury may be the best of the lot.
“These are some of the strongest songs I’ve ever written,” Hay says from his home studio in the hills of Topanga Canyon. “The loss of my father last year brought an extra emotional contingent to them. I don’t have an idea of an afterlife, but I do feel like I had his help when I was writing this album. He wasn’t a songwriter himself, but he was a good singer, so I put myself in his place and wrote songs like he might have done.”
Hay recorded and produced the ten songs on Gathering Mercury in his home studio, with the help of his touring band and friends like bass player Jimmy Earl and pianist Jeff Babko from Jimmy Kimmel’s band, drummer Randy Cook, Cuban percussionist Luis Conte (Madonna, Ray Charles) and his wife Cecilia Noel on backing vocals. The arrangements feature Hay’s quizzical, instantly recognizable tenor supported by acoustic instruments and mellow electric guitar accents.