When Walker Hayes released his Country Stuff EP in June, he wasn’t yet “the Fancy Like guy.” In fact, the buzz had just begun about the track that would become a viral sensation, inescapable everywhere from live television performances to Applebee’s commercials. Now, Hayes is taking a step forward as an artist, releasing his full-length Country Stuff The Album today, January 21.
“I’ve been waiting so long to put out a project like this,” says the Monument recording artist in a statement. “It has everything I love from the fun of ‘Fancy Like’ to the more personal lyrics in ‘AA.’ As an artist, it’s such a unique thing to be able to share all the different versions of you in a project, and that’s really what I tried to do here.”
The album opens with “Drinking Songs,” an interesting choice for a man who’s faced his own battles with alcohol addiction. Yet, Hayes jokes about it as only he can, quipping on social media, “Who better to write a drinking song than an alcoholic?” On the breakup track, Hayes is rock bottom after a breakup, getting through the tough times supported by a drink and an array of country greats.
Interestingly, Hayes follows up his “Drinking Songs,” with “AA,” revealing the honest truths about his life and his struggles. On the mid-tempo tune, he muses, “I’m just tryna keep my daughters off the pole // And my sons out of jail // Tryna get to church so I don’t go to hell // I’m just tryna keep my wife // From figuring out // That I married up // And she married way, way down… Hey, I’m just tryna stay out of AA.”
Like “AA,” “What You Don’t Wish For” deals with the struggles Hayes has faced on his road to success. “People think I’m crazy // And sometimes I believe them,” He begins. “I ain’t the best singer in the world // But I can’t stop singing.” He dedicates the song to all “the kids with guitars looking up at the stars” with dreams of making music a career. “They say careful what you wish // But I say more // Be careful what you don’t wish for.”
Hayes shows his romantic side on songs like “Life With You” and “Make You Cry.” If you follow him on social media, it’s abundantly clear how much he loves his wife, Lainey. This is even more evident on the album’s more heartfelt tracks. “Life With You” is about how much life changes once you find your person. “I never knew that I was lonely ‘til your love // Didn’t believe in all that one and only stuff // Only thing that my heart could commit to // Was my commitment issues // Til you came into the picture like whoa // I said ‘y’all i’m finished flying solo’…” Hayes sings.“Baby all I wanna do is life with you.” Meanwhile, on “Make You Cry,” he celebrates the happy tears of life, which were probably caused by these songs. “I know I hit the right emotion,” He sings. “When your eyes fill up with ocean.”
The album also features a handful of collaborations, including “Country Stuff” with Jake Owen, “Briefcase” with Lori McKenna, and “What If We Did?” with Carly Pearce, each of which appeared on his previously-released EP. The new addition here is the re-release of “Craig,” featuring Christian group MercyMe. The song tells the story of a man whom Hayes met at church that changed his life by paying things forward and giving him a van. The inclusion of MercyMe on the choruses here adds a new layer to the song, making it even more powerful.
“Yeah I know, he sounds cool right? // Not your typical kid from Sunday school, right? // Nah he can’t walk on water // Or turn the Napa Valley red // But he just might be tight with a man that did // Now he’s not the light of the world // But I wish that mine was bright as his // Yeah he just might be tight with a man that is”
“Fancy Like” is still one of the album’s standouts, with its inescapable earworminess that we’re somehow not sick of yet. Meanwhile, Hayes continues to drop funky beats like “Fancy Like” on the likes of “U Gurl,” another rhythmic singalong track that’s sure to make the TikTokers happy.
The album ends on a high note with the stirring Carly Pearce duet “What If We Did.” The track finds the pair after a one-night-stand, musing that they may not make it long term, but what if they did? “That only happens never,” Hayes sings as they consider a possible future together, Pearce’s angelic voice adding a beautiful richness of layers to the already dreamy track.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last six months, you’ve heard and sang along to “Fancy Like.” Yet, there’s so much more to Walker Hayes, as evidenced by Country Stuff The Album. While he can produce a viral hit with a silly dance, Hayes is much deeper than just that, and while it would be easy to simply write him off as “that Fancy Like guy,” we recommend you give him the chance he deserves.
Country Stuff The Album Tracklist:
- “Drinking Songs”
- “Life With You”
- “U Gurl”
- “Fancy Like”
- “Craig” (Feat MercyMe)
- “What You Don’t Wish For”
- “Country Stuff” (Feat. Jake Owen)
- “I Hope You Miss Me”
- “Briefcase” (Feat. Lori McKenna)
- “What If We Did” (Feat. Carly Pearce)
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Country Stuff The Album is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.