Walker Hayes: Country Stuff – EP Review
Walker Hayes’s new EP, Country Stuff, including the title track with Jake Owen, “Fancy Like,” and “What If We Did” featuring Carly Pearce, is out now, June 4th, on all streaming platforms. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.
There’s something uniquely Walker Hayes about Walker Hayes. While some are quick to criticize his quirky style as not country enough, there’s an undeniable quality to his music that allows the listener to immediately realize they are listening to Hayes. This is evident on his new EP, Country Stuff, out today, June 4th.
The new EP features Hayes trading verses with the likes of Jake Owen, Carly Pearce, and country singer/songwriter extraordinaire, Lori McKenna. He shows his fun side on tracks like “Country Stuff” and “Fancy Like,” while showing his more serious and introspective side on songs like “What If We Did” and “Briefcase.”
For Hayes, the Owen duet holds special significance. “Having Jake Owen on ‘Country Stuff’ is a full-circle moment for me” Hayes shares in a statement. “When I got my first publishing deal in town, Jake was one of the first artists to put a hold on one of my songs. That moment meant so much to me. To now be releasing a song with him on it… that’s just mind-blowing.”
“Fancy Like” celebrates the simpler things in life, in a tongue-in-cheek way, Hayes musing about all the ways he’s fancy. The song is a super catchy bop, name-dropping everything from Wendy’s and Applebees to Tesla, Natty Ice, and Vespa. “Yeah we fancy like Applebees // On a date night,” He sings in that patented style. “Got that Bourbon Street Steak // With the Oreo Shake // And some whipped cream on the top too // Two straws, one check // Girl, I got you.”
Hayes shows his softer side on “Make You Cry” and “I Hope You Miss Me.” On “Make You Cry,” he celebrates all the ways he makes his wife cry, out of happiness. It’s such a clever take on making someone tear up. “I know I hit the right emotion,” He sings, “When your eyes fill up with ocean.” Meanwhile, “I Hope You Miss Me” sounds like it could easily be about the one that got away. However, Hayes has previously shared that the special song is actually dedicated to his daughter who he knows is destined for Hollywood when she’s older. While he may wish her the best, he can’t help but hope that she remembers him. “People like you don’t get old with people like me,” He sings over twangy guitars on the catchy and relatable track. “I hope you find yourself,” He admits. “But selfishly, I hope you miss me.”
The EP ends with a one-two punch of female collaborations, starting off with the Carly Pearce duet, “What If We Did.” The track finds the one-night-stand pair 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.
For the album’s final track, “Briefcase,” Hayes called in Nashville heavy-hitter Lori McKenna (“Girl Crush,” “Humble and Kind.”) On the track, Hayes paints a brilliant parallel between his father’s briefcase and his own guitar. He sings about how he resembles his father in all aspects, and how “a guitar doesn’t fall too far from a briefcase.” The brutal honesty on display here shows Hayes at his finest.
As a singer-rapper, Walker Hayes fills a certain niche with undeniably catchy songs like “Country Stuff” and “Fancy Like.” However, he truly shines on deeper material, as evidenced on tracks like“Briefcase” and “Make You Cry.” The Country Stuff EP allows Hayes to flex both sides of his personality, and there’s something for everyone here.
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Country Stuff 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.