With his first Number One behind him — and his first Grammy Awards just weeks away — hit maker Walker Hayes is looking to his past to move forward. Even though the hip-hop influenced star is proudly sober, he taps the metaphorical keg of heartbreak for “Drinking Songs.”
A dark stomp-and-shout anthem written by Hayes with Jordan Gray, the track features a gritty rock edge and a hint of the blues, as the swaggering singer drowns his many sorrows. Leaning on country touchstones (and legendary drinkers like Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr.), it’s a rowdy roadhouse banger with a shot of “All My Rowdy Friends” energy, but it comes from a guy who’s been on the wagon for six years. With that in mind, Hayes doesn’t so much glorify drinking as sympathize with those who do, looking for deliverance .
“‘Drinking Songs’ is one of my favorites off the new album,” he says of the track. “I don’t drink anymore but I still connect with how a song can get you through, just like a drink can for some people. We’ve all been in a bar full of people singing together, arms around each other. Plus, the lyrics and the beat just have a relatable quality to them that feels so country to me.”
“SO GIVE ME THAT BOURBON AND BOCEPHUS / I CAN’T HELP ME SO HELP ME JESUS / SHE AIN’T COMING BACK LIKE YOU SHE GONE / SO WHAT I NEED IS IN WILLIAM’S VOICE RIGHT NOW / HANK AND EVAN DON’T LET ME DOWN / BRING THEM FAMILY TRADITIONS ON / I’MMA JUST KEEP SITTIN AND SIPPIN’ AND SINGING ALONG / THANK GOD FOR DRINKING AND DRINKING SONGS,” goes the chorus.
“Drinking Songs” is part of Hayes upcoming Country Stuff The Album, which arrives on January 21, and it’s actually the second song from the album so far that deals with Hayes’ former struggle with alcohol. His current single even puts a lighthearted spin on it, with “AA” boldly explaining his quest to stay on the straight and narrow.
Meanwhile, Hayes may have wanted a drink pretty bad last night (January 10), as his beloved Alabama Crimson Tide lost the college football national championship game to the Georgia Bulldogs. Hayes was even forced to go public with his shame after losing a bet on the game, changing the words of “AA,” to feature Bulldogs references instead of ‘Bama rhymes.