Country music fans know Walker Hayes as a country artist, a loving husband to wife Laney Beville Hayes, a doting father to his six children and recently a viral hitmaker. But, the talented star is about to add yet another title to his name – author.
Yep, Hayes is gearing up to write his first-ever book, and it will be titled Glad You’re Here!
Hayes began working on the new venture with his longtime friend and collaborator Craig Cooper, and the name of the book comes from a lyric in his song, “Craig” – also inspired by Cooper. Hayes tells Music Mayhem that the upcoming release will be published through Moody Publishing, a nonprofit organization that publishes Christian books.
“They were so kind as to publish an idea that came from Craig,” Hayes said of the organization, giving recognition to Cooper, a pastoral writer who once gave up the keys to his minivan to help Hayes and his family when they were struggling to make ends meet.
Much like his track, the book explores the dear friendship between Hayes and Cooper. However, this time, fans get to dig deeper into their backstory from the time they first met to when they become neighbors. In addition to that, Hayes also delves into his spirituality, previous battle with alcoholism, and the difficulties he and his wife faced in recent years, including losing their seventh child, Oakleigh Klover Hayes. During some of the tough times in Hayes’ life, Craig, who he met at Redeeming Grace Church in Franklin, Tenn., always offered a shoulder to lean on.
“I bought the house next door to [Craig],” Hayes said. “[The book] uncovers the details of our friendship, my testimony, us losing a baby, so I go in detail about losing Oakley and how the Lord has redeemed that. I also talk about my battle with alcoholism and how it’s going. When I met Craig, I was an alcoholic, and now I will be six years sober in October.”
“So man, [this book] documents our life together and what an impact [Craig] and his family had on us and why, which is just because of Christ,” he added. “The funny thing is when I wrote the song, ‘Craig,’ I did not say the name of Jesus because I would have denied him at that point in my life, I did not believe in Jesus. And while that saddens me, now he’s all I want to sing about. And that’s largely what the song is about, just through unlikely friends becoming neighbors.”
Indeed, it’s clear that Hayes and his forever friend has come full-circle, as the singer/songwriter is now riding high on his No. 1 hit song “Fancy Like,” after receiving help from Craig at what he deems one of the lowest points in his life. And, through it all, Hayes wants the world to know his story, how he has evolved as a person and as an artist, the value he puts on friendship, and the importance of paying it forward.
“Once a week, Craig and I look at each other, and we’re just dumbfounded at how our life continues to be full circle….,” Hayes said. “Craig and Laura, [they] gained nothing from a worldly standpoint by loving us. And, to me, that’s just what a display of affection [is] to try to imitate in this world and how hard that is to do it in our own power, to extend that grace. People who know me before meeting Christ probably wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, hey, Walker is a real neighborly guy. He craves community.’ That is just not my thing. So the Lord has changed me, and I just want to talk about it.”
While Hayes’ detailed his forthcoming book, he has not yet shared a release date.