Songwriters find inspiration from a number of different sources, but “Craig” by Walker Hayes came to life after the singer met a kind man who changed his family’s life.
One day, Hayes followed his wife’s request to join her at church, which the singer wanted no part in during a dark period in his life. Nevertheless, he went along with it and met Craig during that fateful visit. Getting to know each other on a deeper level and creating a friendship with an airtight bond, Craig ended up gifting a van to Hayes’ family to keep the kids safe buckled up in the back seat.
In return, Hayes returned the favor in his own manner: he wrote a thank you note, which eventually found its way to song and then on his album.
“The most important part to me is I just wrote it as a thank you note,” Hayes revealed to Sounds Like Nashville during a recent interview. “Basically, a thank you letter. I’m not great when it comes to just guy to guy being serious and showing affection and gratitude. And, so, when we were making that album, I was doing a lot of reflection on kind of the times that it took to get here, you know?”
All things aside though, Hayes never thought the note would see the light of day. Making it more of a personal recording rather than something for commercial use, the singer never thought in a million years that “Craig” would launch onto country radio.
“As an artist when you write a song like that, there’s zero intention the public will ever hear it. I’m just being 100 percent honest. When you’re that personal, that specific, and the style is that different… especially in our market… you might as well write it knowing it’s probably going to [be a] deep cut. At most, I didn’t even think it was going on an album,” Hayes explained.
The minute Craig heard the track, Hayes knew the thank you was well-received and the song gained the stamp of approval from the source of inspiration himself.
“I sent to him to say thanks and he just…he was undone, he was speechless, he cried. You know he and his wife they appreciated it so much and that was that,” the singer said.
Hayes’ latest single, “Craig,” can be found on his debut album, boom.