Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Bruce Hayes: Bio

The Hype: 

Bruce Hayes plays Rhythm & Celtgrass music, a fusion of musical styles that combines acoustic and electric instrumentation with elements of Rock, Bluegrass, Celtic, and R&B music. Collaborating with The String Cheese Incident and Acoustic Junction, Hayes helped define the acoustic jam band sound. He continues this tradition performing original songs and arrangements on Mandolin, Guitar, Dobro, foot board and his latest creation, the Stratobassto.

 "...the most phenomenally talented performer you've ever seen. A master of the guitar, mandolin, and dobro, he even dances a rhythm while he plays - Bruce will astound you. He writes great songs, has a hell of a voice and is a supreme entertainer." Acoustic Coffeehouse Nederland CO

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, recording engineer, one man band -Bruce Hayes does it all. The forty-something entertainer has been a professional musician since high school and his experience shows.

"...lightning-fast mandolin licks...phenomenal guitar picking...a cross between Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges." Berkshire Eagle Pittsfield MA

On stage Hayes' presence is electrifying. He taps his feet on an amplified floor board, slaps accents on his guitar and cheeks, wails on the harmonica and sings charismatically. His fingers dance around the strings with incredible fluidity creating rich harmonic textures and rapid-fire riffs.

“What he was doing with that guitar gave me chills... Awesome.” Top O’ the World WSC

The music is fresh and original but steeped in tradition; borrowing from blues, bluegrass, celtic, world beat, folk, rock and jazz.

"...styles that could be loosely termed "Mountain Music", (Hayes is an accomplished bluegrass player) but Bruce's mountains reach from the Andes to the smokies and back to his home range in Colorado." Larry Good , Aspen Daily News

Inspired by the Beatles and the Monkees, Hayes began studying music at age seven. His mother, a former broadway dancer, would insist that he study piano first, but his attention was always diverted by a small Sears Silvertone guitar. He formed his first band in seventh grade and got his first paid gig as guitarist for the High school jazz ensemble when he was fifteen. In College he majored in classical guitar but after attending his first bluegrass festival he traded the classical guitar for a mandolin and began performing at ski areas.

"...Bruce Hayes is the Jimi Hendrix of the mandolin..." Crested Butte Chronicle & Pilot

Perfoming as a solo act, a sideman, or with his bands, Hayes has given over 3,000 performances in many of America’s finest music venues, and several prominent music festivals. His music has taken him across the continent a dozen times, and twice around Europe. He's jammed on stage with Joe Cocker, Arlo Guthrie, New Riders, Acoustic Syndicate, Railroad Earth, Darrell Scott, Tim O'Brien, Drew Emmitt; opened shows for David Bromberg, Jorma Kaukonen, Merle Sanders, Subdudes, Neville Bros., Dave Mathews, Sam Bush and David Lindley; and recorded in Nashville for grammy winning producer, Jon Vezner.

"...definately not some New Age dork. Man, he really cuts loose!" Tom Robbins

In 1997, Ragged Mountain Records released Hayes' second album, LUNCH. A follow-up to the popular PACK OF DOGS compilation CD that Hayes produced and performed on, LUNCH features more of Colorado's finest musicians including Tony Furtado, members of Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, Acoustic Junction, The Motet, and the BRUCE HAYES BAND.


* Best of Salida 2010 
* Second place, Telluride Blues & brews Acoustic Blues contest 2002
* First place, Mandolin Contest, Rocky Grass Festival 1993
* Second place, Mandolin Contest, Telluride Bluegrass Festival 1994
* Member of Acoustic Junction 1994
* Sideman for Melanie’s European Tour 1993
* Grand prize winner, KDHT Colorado Sound Competition 1991
*Winner -Glastonbury High School non-talent talent shows 1978,1979
*Elected "class musician", recieved two music scholarships 1979

Telluride Blues & Brews Festival (tweeners) 2001-2006
Lake City Wine & Music Festival 2002-2006
Durango Bluegrass Meltdown 1999, 2001, 2002
One World Festival 1998
Four Corners Folk Festival 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001
Silverton Jubilee 1997, 1998, 2000,2001,2002
Crested Butte Festival for the Arts 1994- 2009
Carbondale Mountain Fair 1982, 1993, 1997
High Sierra Festival 1997
Rocky Folk Festival 1991

Crested Butte Center for the Arts CO
Thunderbird Inn  Flourisant CO
Mesa Theater  Grande Junction CO
The Salida Cafe  Salida CO
Noble Savage  Shreveport LA
Front Range BBQ  Colorado Springs CO

BIG AIR: Charted #1 new release on KBUT Crested Butte and KVLE Gunnison. Frequent air-play and live performances on KVNF Paonia; KSUT and KDUR Durango; KGNU Boulder; KRCC Colorado Spgs; KZMU Moab; KDNK Carbondale; KOTO Telluride; KWUF Pagosa.
Top 10 on’s folkchart.


Live In Salida (2006)
Lunch (1997)
Sold Out at the Center with Ragged Mountain and Michael Travis (2000)
Everything On Your Plate (1990)

Pack of Dogs, Ragged Mountain RMR1 (1996)
LIVE from the Acoustic Coffeehouse (1996)
Second Annual Four Corners Folk Festival JLM (1997)

BILL WOODS, It's About Time (1996)
BILL WRIGHT, Traveling Light (1996)/ Bill Wright Band (2002)
REED MCGREGOR FOEHL, Leo's Song (1995)(2000)
ACOUSTIC JUNCTION, Shape of Things To Come (1990)