Walker Hayes, ‘Shut Up Kenny’ | Track Review
Up-and-coming country singer-songwriter Walker Hayes drops single “Shut Up Kenny,” an ode to his idol, Kenny Chesney. “Kenny” appears on ‘boom.’
Walker Hayes is not your household name…yet. Nonetheless, the 37-year-old country singer/songwriter has experienced moderate success. Perhaps his sophomore album (first of note), boom., will give him booming success. After releasing several singles in advance of boom., including the moderately successful “You Broke Up with Me,” he drops “Shut Up Kenny.”
Think about it. “Shut Up Kenny” is a great, ‘left of center’ title for song, particularly a country song. In this case, Hayes has his musical idol, Kenny Chesney in mind. It would seem, given the title, that Hayes is anti-Chesney. No sir. He’s onboard with country music vet through and through, and it makes for an interesting listen.
“Shut Up Kenny” has its share of country music cues, yet it also has some pop sensibilities. Overall, the production work is tasty. Hayes ‘talks’ (spoken word) during the verses. Initially, it’s a bit odd – polarizing. Ultimately, this approach is somewhat off-putting, off-kilter, yet rhythmic and unique. The chorus is incredibly catchy and irresistible. By far, Hayes sounds his best during this portion of the song.
All in all, Walker Hayes is onto something with “Shut Up Kenny.” He proves he’s a compelling songwriter, going ‘against the grain’ of many contemporary country artists. No, this likely won’t appeal to the traditional listener, yet it should win over a younger, more open-minded crowd. There’s definitely appeal.
Walker Hayes • boom. • Monument / Sony • Release: 12.8.17
Photo Credits: Monument / Sony