There’s a song on Walker Hayes’ debut album boom. called “Shut Up Kenny.” It’s kind of like Taylor Swift’s debut single “Tim McGraw” or Eric Church’s “Springsteen,” all about how melodies can spark memories.
“’Shut Up Kenny’ is also a true story. My wife (Laney) and I associate so many memories in our relationship with the timing of Kenny Chesney songs. His song ’Anything But Mine,’ in particular, reminds me of the year we moved to Nashville,” Hayes said in a recent radio interview.
“So many happy memories: us in a U-Haul, us moving into our first little apartment, all great stuff. But one night Laney and I were in a fight, we were past the point of talking. We were actually being dead silent and I flippantly just turn on the radio and ’Anything But Mine’ came on. And that song makes me happy, but I wanted to stay pissed in that moment. So I thought ’Shut up, Kenny!’ and I changed the station, and the same song was on another station,” he said. The song was released 13 years ago, so in 2005, it was on country radio all the time.
“So I took that idea a couple of days later, and me and some buddies (AJ Babcock and Pete Good) wrote it,” Hayes said.
Now that he and Chesney are actually labelmates, there’s bound to be some real-life interaction between the two artists, right? Wrong. Hayes told CMT.com that they haven’t met yet. Hayes’ producer Shane McAnally is friends with Chesney, though, so he sent him the song and Chesney gave them the green light to put it on boom.
“That was a great moment for me. To think that I came here 13 years ago loving Kenny, and 13 years later Kenny didn’t cut my song, but he heard it. And he liked it, and I get to put it on my album,” Hayes said. “I thought it would be funny if Kenny and I got into a fake Instawar like he writes a reply that’s like, ’Shut Up, Walker.’ But he’s so gracious, and they play it on his SiriusXM station, and it has sparked a huge reaction to that song. It’s good to have his support.”