Walker Hayes will always remain one of our favorite artists to work with because of his talent, but more importantly because of his unparallel devotion to his family, his craft, and to maintaining true to himself and to his fans. Keeping the tradition alive, Hayes released the third volume of his ‘8Tracks’ record entitled Black Sheep today.
The record features eight diverse tracks that all blur genre lines in the best way possible. Each song relies on rhythmic word phrasing and heartfelt song lyrics, ringing true to the singer-songwriter’s unique style. The opening song, the title track is one of those songs you cannot help but to bounce along to and to smile, while it plays. Hayes’ admits to being a bit of a misfit, reminiscing about his younger days, admitting in the hook “Now that I’m a dad, I feel bad for her daddy”
Slowing it down a bit, “Love Hate” is next song off the record. Hayes’ vocals shine on this electric song. The song is about all of those experiences in life that are a “love-hate thing” like trying to become a successful artist, going through a tough break-up, and wanting someone to love you. Ironically the song takes a turn, truly becoming about the well-crafted lyric “I just hate how much I want you to love me,” a sentiment that most people can relate to.
The next two songs present as diary entries. The first, “Dad’s Sailboat” is a quick-witted and emotional tune. Hayes’ depicts the story of mortality in such a way that is both eye-opening and relatable, as he sings about his father selling his sailboat because he is getting older and the emotional impact that has. The second, “Chapel” is Hayes’ song for his children. Being a dad is a profound title in the singer’s life, and it is refreshing to see an artist sing about it in a clever song. He talks about how a parent and a child might have different dreams, but that a parent’s role is to always to be supportive.
“Chapel, Little apple, fall as far from the tree / as you need to / My love can reach you / Chapel, little apple, fall as far from the tree / as you need to / My love can reach you”
“Goldest” and “Wish I Could Drink” are the next songs off the record. The former is the ultimate compliment to your love immersed in an upbeat tempo. Hayes shares that he would rather have love than anything else in the world, including a medal, award or a Rolex. The latter is a soulful expression of despair. Hayes admits to just wishing he could have some alcohol, during tough times; despite, not having a sip in over four years. This song is an honest recount of the daily struggles of recovery that many people go through, and it is encouraging that someone with Hayes’ platform is bringing awareness to such a vulnerable subject.
Hayes continues the vulnerability with “Acceptance Speech,” an ultimate anthem for self-acceptance. A female singer lends her voice on the chorus, which only adds to the powerful message. The entertainer admits to coping with criticisms and seeking out validation calling himself a “recovering-validation-aholic.” This song shows listeners that we can all exist with hopes, dreams, and insecurities, but we should always be our own cheerleaders.
“This goes out to myself / and every single tear that I felt / telling me that no one can tell me who to be / except for me”
Hayes ends the record with an acoustic version of his heartfelt single “Don’t Let Her.” The song is his ode to his relationship with his wife. It is one of the purest love songs out there right now, and although the lyrics are deeply personal, we are sure that fans resonate with this one.
Overall the central themes of honesty, vulnerability, and family are what will garner Hayes more and more fans. This latest project is just another notch in the singer-songwriter’s belt, showcasing his fearlessness and proving that he has the talent and work ethic to make it in the rough and tumble music industry.
8Tracks Vol. 3- Black Sheep is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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