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See Walker Hayes’ Sparse Cover of Kenny Chesney’s ‘The Good Stuff’

Eclectic performer prepares for release of his album ‘Boom.’ by nodding to a musical hero

Walker Hayes’ new album, Boom., hits stores December 8th, bringing with it a tracklist of genre-jumping songs about breakups, babies and beautiful women.

His first major-label release in six years, the album has already spawned a hit in “You Broke Up with Me,” which entered the Top 20 this week. To celebrate the release, Hayes will rejoin Thomas Rhett’s Home Team Tour later this month, then open a string of shows for Kelsea Ballerini in early 2018. All of that activity hasn’t stopped the songwriter from making his own home recordings, though. This week, he tips his hat to Kenny Chesney with a DIY cover of “The Good Stuff,” stripping the song clean of its high-gloss production and, instead, rebuilding it into an urban, bare-boned blast of country, pop and R&B.

“I think it’s one of the greatest country songs of all time,” he explains during the studio video, which shows him pulling double duty as producer and performer. “The older I get, the more and more I can relate to this song. So I did my own personal version – maybe what ‘Good Stuff’ would sound like on an 8Track [release].”

Released 15 years after Chesney’s original version, Hayes’ cover of “The Good Stuff” – with its mix of acoustic guitar twang and beat-boxed percussion – helps set the scene for Boom., whose arrangements stretch the traditional boundaries of country music. The song also helps whip up anticipation for another Boom. track, “Shut Up Kenny,” whose lyrics pay proud tribute to the Chesney. Hayes may be part of country music’s new, hip-hop loving class, but he’s still a fan of the older stuff, too. 

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