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Walker Hayes Took Two Years to Write ’90’s Country’

“I think there was one version where there 40 something references, and it was like a minute-long rap of just '90s country titles or little like nods to it and stuff,” said Hayes.

Written by Lauren Laffer
Walker Hayes Took Two Years to Write ’90’s Country’
Walker Hayes; Photo credit: Matthew Berinato

If you’ve listened to Walker Hayes’ new single, “90’s Country,” you’ve heard a collection of 22 classic country songs fit together like a puzzle to create a love story for the ages. Compiling the long list of songs that contribute to the lyrics was a two-year process for the singer, who was finally able to create a track unlike any other.

“It was a tough song to write. We fought. Shane [McAnally] and I fought hard,” admitted Hayes with a laugh as he settled into the couch at SMACK Songs. “I will admit, I have to be the slowest writer in Nashville. I’m not joking. ‘Craig’ took me three months at least, ’90’s Country’… we put it down for a while and brought it back out. Again, Shane and I, he will say … I’m sure he was annoyed or beyond annoyed by the time we finished this song, the way it ends up.”

The track began with a co-write between Hayes and LRYX. The two were able to come together and compose the chorus of the bouncy tune, but then called in McAnally to help drive the song home. Between their efforts and the hours spent, the men came up with “at least 10 different versions of that song that no one will hear.”

“I think there was one version where there were forty-something references, and it was like a minute-long rap of just ’90s country titles or little like nods to it and stuff,” he smiled.

The end result debuted at the end of August and Hayes couldn’t be prouder of the response to the nostalgic tune.

“I love the way they reacted. One of favorite reactions, I posted it the other day, a friend of mine said, ‘I hate you. This song is in my head. I cannot get it out, and I even listened to Neil McCoy ‘Wink’ on purpose this morning.’ I was like, ‘I love that. It’s what that’s supposed to do is remind you of those days.’”

He continued, “What was really crazy is as soon as we finished this song, and we said, ‘Hey, it’s going to be the next single,’ all over social media everywhere, people were like, ‘Oh, ’90s this, ’90s that. Hey, you all can remember Timex watches, or duck heads,’ or you know what I mean? People were bringing up all kinds of stuff. Actually, one of my band members said, ‘I think there is something divine going on with the release the song, because I see ’90s everywhere.'”

“90’s Country” is available for streaming or purchase now.