Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Country in the NEWS: Where New Country meets Old Country....November 14, 2017 (Walker Hayes - New Release)

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Walker Hayes Discusses How Idolizing Kenny Chesney Inspired 'Shut Up Kenny,' Premieres Video

  Walker Hayes

Walker Hayes broke onto the country scene with his creatively cheeky move-along tune “You Broke Up With Me” earlier this year, and now the 37-year-old singer-songwriter is gearing up for his debut album release, boom., which arrives Dec. 8. The most recent pre-album-release arrived Nov. 3, and its title is almost even more impudent than its predecessor: “Shut Up Kenny.”
Yes, that is a direct reference to the one and only Kenny Chesney. But if you think Hayes is hating on Kenny, think again (or just listen closer): Hayes actually loves Chesney so much, he had to write a song about how deep the superstar’s lyrics can cut — even when he may not want to feel something.

The resonant piano-tinged track is the narrative of a moment Hayes experienced while in the car with his wife in the middle of a fight a couple of years ago, when they couldn’t escape a now-fateful Chesney song. “I was like, ‘Man, shut up Kenny... why you gotta do that,” Hayes recalls to Billboard. “And [then] I’m like ‘Man, shut up Kenny, what a great idea."
Hayes' lightbulb moment spawned a full 3-minutes worth of an ode to his favorite country singer — which was even approved by Chesney himself — and today (Nov. 10) the rising country singer premieres the car-set video for “Shut Up Kenny.” Ahead of unveiling the video, Hayes chatted with Billboard about what makes Chesney so special; the influence Chesney has had on his career, relationship, and family; and his approach to writing that song that (hopefully) helps him avoid being labeled "a younger dude doing some pop shit."
Watch the "Shut Up Kenny" video, listen to Hayes' favorite Chesney tracks, and take a look at an edited transcript of our interview with Hayes below.

“She’s Got It All” was [Kenny’s] first song I ever heard, and I was like "I dig this guy.” Obviously “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” was a bomb. I loved that kind of stuff — that was the first sort of country that I was like, “I dig this.”
He had an album out that had this song “How Forever Feels” on it, and it was basically the soundtrack of summertime for me and my wife, Laney, [who was my] girlfriend at the time. It was just a nice soundtrack to that beach life, coastal living in Mobile [Alabama]: Cold beer, beach, all that stuff.
Kenny, what he means the most to me is, his songs sort of define little moments of our relationship. My wife and I started dating in 11th grade. His life as an artist was so spot-on timeline-wise with me and Laney that we just have a special thing with Kenny. 
I think every couple should find an artist that they dig together. There’s so many songs that literally define the birth of a kid, when we moved to Nashville, or when we were in high school. That’s been a fun thing for Laney and I to share. It’s cliche to say Chesney’s song “I Go Back,” but I do — I think of some of my high school buddies when I hear these songs. His songs just give me such vivid memories that I can almost smell the car I was in when we listened to it.
I have no idea why, but before I even knew that I wanted to be a songwriter, I was just kind of infatuated with Kenny — I liked his vibe, I liked all of his music, I liked his lyrics. He's my Beatles, as far as country music was concerned.
Around 2000, Laney and I were both in college, we came up and saw Kenny Chesney play New Year’s Eve at the big civic center in Nashville. We saw him play this ridiculously amazing concert. I still didn’t know I wanted to be a songwriter, but when we saw him, our minds were completely blown. And if we hadn’t already fallen in love with his vibe and his music, we fell even deeper in love. It was another level of devotion to his music.
His charisma on stage — this guy has more energy than my 5-year-old, and that’s saying a ton. I watch him on stage and I’m like, “What is this guy taking?” He’s a jumping bean, and it is remarkable to sit and watch him in a stadium, and up in the nosebleeds everybody is up on their feet like they’re in the front frickin’ row. That’s a gift. I think, "How does Chesney do that?” I think he does it through his songs. His songs are all nostalgic, they are all those melodies that bring back all those memories. We can all learn from him.
Kenny Chesney’s music cuts. He gets into those massive ballads like “There Goes My Life” and “The Good Stuff” and things like that that just crush you, and delivers them so well. Some of that you can’t really put your finger on, it’s just magic. 
The year we moved up [to Nashville], Kenny’s song “Anything But Mine” came out, I think it was ’04. And that’s a special song for me and Laney, because that’s one we loved by him and loved that line, “I tell her I love her and we both laugh because we know it isn’t true.” When I hear that, I think of the U-Haul that we attached to my car, drove up and looked for apartments together. We knew nobody, we knew nothing about Nashville — we didn’t know where the grocery store was. Neither one of us had jobs.

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