Walker Hayes
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Walker Hayes

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Country Singer/Songwriter

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The new decade has been rung in by a large crop of new music, ranging from The Band Perry, whose stylings sway back and forth between upbeat country-pop and toned-down elegancies, to Jerrod Niemann, whose sharp vocal skills alone welcomed him into the business. Now comes Capitol Records’ Walker Hayes, who shows his diversity through his expertise in women’s apparel.

Having been in Nashville since 2004, Walker Hayes has released his debut single. “Pants”, written by Hayes himself, tells a story about a guy whose woman is the decisive one in the relationship, the one who generally is in control, despite his having always been strong-headed himself.

However, the narrator takes pains to let us know that, even if she can be overbearing, he’s still the one in charge when nighttime comes around. There is a traditional “guilty pleasure” factor in the song’s production, the kind of sound that usually involves lack of lyrical substance and vocal adrenaline. But “Pants” does not need to rely solely on its catchy production to get the enjoyment of the listeners. Hayes has some solid vocal chops and impressive range which he shows off eloquently throughout the song. Lyrically, the song is borderline clever with unusual rhymes, (I can’t go fishin’/without her permission) and comical lines (I’ve got more honey-do’s/than every fruit truck on Forty).

Overall, the song is pretty solid for a debut. Even though it may seem like a bit of a risk to send out a debut single with the name “Pants”, if it catches a break it could be a huge breakout hit, with a memorable hook that will be stuck in your head all day. I see big things in the future for Walker Hayes, and he certainly has the talent to go far in this business (as long as his next single isn’t called “Shorts.”) - CCT


Alabama native Walker Hayes came to Nashville armed with a college degree in music and soon found himself noticed for his unique style. So far in 2010, he finished recording his debut album and was offered a spot on the Country Throwdown Tour.

With new single ‘Wax Paper Cups’, Walker really offers something remarkably refreshing. The lovely, mellow little tune describes one of those laid-back summer evenings spent comfortably in the presence of the one you love. The catchy melody is underscored by near-ethereal acoustic guitar and Walker’s unique vocals, with just the right amount of vulnerability, really carry this simple, Del Amitri-esque song. Listening to this will make you want to grab your other half, jump in the car, and spend an evening just like this.

‘Wax Paper Cups’ is an exercise in ‘less is more’ and is an exciting calling card for the upcoming debut album. - UCN


MOBILE, Ala. - For once, Walker Hayes was glad he took his father’s advice.

When Charles Hayes called his son with a proposal to help jump-start his son’s singing and songwriting career 10 years ago, Walker wasn’t interested.

“He called me from the Mobile Yacht Club and said, ‘The restaurant waitress says you can play some songs in a corner’” of the restaurant, recalled Walker during a telephone interview from his home in Nashville.

While he appreciated his dad’s help, Walker said he wasn’t looking for a “gig.”

At the time he was having success as an assistant real estate agent with his father’s business.

But Walker’s father didn’t give up on the chance for his son to perform. He was so persistent that Walker said he “reluctantly” agreed to sing just to get his dad off his back.

Without that nudge from his dad, Walker said he wouldn’t be celebrating the release of his first song, “Pants,” which is on country music’s top 40 charts.

The song’s video is also featured on TV country music stations CMT and GAC.

If you look close enough at the end of the video, you can see his father.

The 31-year-old country/singer songwriter, who has a contract with Capitol Records, now lives in Nashville with his wife, Laney Beville Hayes, and their three children. The couple is expecting a fourth child.

Walker spends his days at home lately writing 11 tracks for his first album

“Every day I get these silly ideas and write them on my hand,” said Walker.

Then he turns those words into songs.

Bill Black, program director at WKSJ radio, said the station has received a lot of requests to play Walker’s single.

“For a first effort and first release he’s doing very well,” said Black.

Walker’s father is so proud of his son’s music career he keeps his car radio programmed on three country stations, flipping channels, hoping to hear his son’s song.

“He’s absolutely living a dream,” he said.

Walker will be back in his hometown Mobile April 1 performing at a fund-raiser for the Saenger Theatre. The fund-raiser will be at Space 301, Center for the Living Arts on Conti Street. Tickets are not yet on sale.

Walker started singing at an early age in choirs at Spring Hill Baptist Church, where his father and mother, Barbara, both sing in the adult sanctuary choir.

“I don’t remember not singing in something choir related,” said Walker, adding, “I’m grateful for that.”

He also performed in high school musicals.

Walker met his wife while performing in the musical “Little Shop of Horrors” at St. Paul’s.

An athlete in track and basketball at St. Paul’s, Walker said he had those “tweenager years” where singing wasn’t “so cool.”

But he never gave up on writing songs.

After high school he enrolled in Birmingham-Southern College and earned a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis on piano.

After finishing Birmingham-Southern, he followed some of his “close buddies” to the University of North Carolina, hoping to study pre-med or go to dental school.

He ended up back at home working for his dad.

Walker and his wife moved to Nashville “on a whim” six years ago, hoping to get in the country music business.

Walker landed a job writing songs for a Nashville publishing company, which helped him get his foot in the door to land a contract with Capitol Nashville.

“The funny thing is I didn’t grow up saying this is what I wanted to be,” said Walker. “Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.” - al.com


2010 has already been ripe with new artists, but none may be as unique as Capitol Records newcomer Walker Hayes. Hayes has already made a name for himself around Nashville for his distinctive songwriting and solid vocal chops. On his first official release (Wax Paper Cups was previously announced as the lead single, but was never actually sent to radio), Hayes delivers just such a performance on “Pants”. “Pants” is a highly suggestive tune in which Hayes happily allows his woman to take full command of his life, in exchange for the physical pleasures of their relationship. This isn’t a particularly new theme, but rarely has an artist approached it with such openness and downright glee (not to mention suggestiveness).

Hayes delivers a strong vocal performance, but the real star here is the melody. The melody fits the playful tone of the lyrics perfectly and really helps sell the song. Lyrically though, the song is a bit of a mixed bag. There is definitely some clever stuff here, my particular favorite being “She can crack the whip like Indiana Jones”, but the lyrics also produce a few clumsy rhymes. Hayes tries to rhyme “forty” and “shortly” as well as “holler” and “off her” and both fall short of the mark. Ultimately the lyrics serve their purpose, to sell this playful novelty song, but aside from a few clever lines, there’s nothing overly memorable about this tune. It’s hard to believe that a song this suggestive is going to be a big hit at radio, but stranger things have certainly happened, and Hayes is certain to gain recognition for leading off with this song. Capitol Records has had a very successful 2010, and the label seems to be behind Hayes all the way, so his career trajectory will be interesting to follow.


- RoughStock


Discography

2010- Walker Hayes- Album "Walker Hayes"- Capitol Records
2011- Walker Hayes- Single "Why Wait For Summer"-
2012- Rodney Atkins- Song "Take a Back Road"- Writer

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Bio

With a honey-smooth voice and a gently edgy songwriting approach, country singer Walker Hayes works to the Keith Urban side of things, where pop and country merge with a dose of rock attitude into the emerging 21st century version of commercial country. Born in Mobile, AL, Hayes grew up in a large blended family and learned to play piano early, and while he was a regular participant in choirs, choral groups, and musical theater, most of his attention went to sports, primarily basketball and track. Eventually music went from being Hayes' fallback plan to his main interest, and he earned a music degree with an emphasis on piano at Alabamas Birmingham-Southern College before moving on to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He moved with his wife to Nashville in 2004, and even though he had only written a couple of songs, he began to study the craft and within a year he had a publishing deal. When a demo intended for Keith Urban that featured Hayes' assured vocals crossed the desks at Capitol Records Nashville, it was a revelation, and Hayes was signed almost immediately to the label. Paired with producer Marshall Altman, he began recording a debut album, from which a single, the memorable Pants, was released in 2010.