Walker Hayes, the man Hits Magazine calls a “postmodern country sensation,” is already turning heads in 2017 with CMT, Bobby Bones, Pandora and more tapping him as an artist to watch after the viral success of his lyric heavy and truth-infused self-produced 8Tracks (Vol. 1 & Vol. 2). Today, he expands upon that foundation with the worldwide release of his first full-studio recording, “You Broke Up With Me,” on all digital and streaming platforms. The groove-driven track, co-written by Hayes, Thomas Archer and Kylie Sackley, and produced by GRAMMY Award-winning producer Shane McAnally, is the first release from his forthcoming debut album on Monument Records.
“Honestly, we were so attached to the 8Tracks version of ‘You Broke Up With Me,’ that I was scared anything we added in the studio would just clutter the magic,” Hayes confesses. “Literally, the second the boys started playing I knew…I had nothing to be afraid of.”
In May 2016, Hayes released 8Tracks Vol. 1 and continued the collection of 16 songs he had written and recorded himself with 8Tracks Vol. 2, released in Aug., singularly building each track. The work-tape style recordings were released through McAnally’s SMACKSongs, attracting the attention of both media and tastemakers alike due to the vulnerability of his lyrics and catchy melodies. The attention led to opening performances on country duo Dan + Shay’s fall 2016 Obsessed Tour as well as a current slot on Bobby Bones’ Funny and Alone Comedy Tour. However, Hayes’ 8Tracks’ ultimate payoff was a deal with Monument Records, which announced its re-launch on Thursday, Jan. 26, tapping Hayes as one of its two flagship artists.
“This is the first piece of the most inspired and unique musical puzzle I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying to put together,” said McAnally. “Walker is the epitome of true artistry, musicianship, songwriting and most of all…heart. He is a dream collaborator, and I am honored that he trusted me with this music.”
In tandem with the digital release of “You Broke Up With Me,” Hayes also surprised fans with a homemade music video from his studio on Music Row. “The Shack,” as he refers to the small garden shed nestled between 16th and 17th avenues, where he writes and records his tracks, has been an instrumental part of Hayes’ musical evolution for the past few years. The video, available on VEVO here, shares a glimpse into Hayes’ everyday world of writing songs and building tracks.
Walker Hayes will perform as a special guest on Bobby Bones’ Funny and Alone Comedy Tour on following dates:
Friday, Feb. 3 – The National – Richmond, Va.
Saturday, Feb. 4 – Warner Theatre – Washington D.C.
Friday, Feb. 10 – Crest Theatre — Sacramento, Calif.
Saturday, Feb. 11 – Laxson Auditorium – Chico, Calif
Friday, Feb. 24 – Frauenthal Center – Muskegon, Mich.
Friday, Mar. 10 – Carolina Theatre – Durham, N.C.
Saturday, Mar. 11 – Carolina Theatre – Greensboro, N.C.
Friday, Mar. 24 – Belle Mehus Auditorium – Bismark, N.D.
Saturday, Mar. 25 – Empire Arts Center – Grand Forks, N.D.
Friday, Mar. 31 – Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace – Bakersfield, Calif.
Friday, April 7 – Wilbur Theater – Boston, Mass.
Saturday, April 8 – Calvin Theatre & Performing Arts Center – Northampton, Mass.
Friday, May 19 – Orpheum PAC – Wichita, Kan.
Friday, May 20 – Orpheum PAC – Wichita, Kan.