Walker Hayes is adding author to his lengthy list of job credits. The 41-year-old will release his debut book, Glad You’re Here, along with his friend, Craig Cooper, who became an important part of Hayes’ life.
“I bought the house next door to [Craig],” Hayes tells Music Mayhem. “[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.”
Cooper also inspired a song, “Craig,” on Hayes’ 2017 Boom album. It was Cooper who gave Hayes’ his own minivan, when Hayes was struggling to support his family, and became influential in Hayes becoming a Christian.
“[Glad You’re Here] documents our life together and what an impact [Craig] and his family had on us and why, which is just because of Christ,” Hayes explains. “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.”
The two men are still close friends, and equally amazed at how much Hayes’ life has changed since they first met.
“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 reflects. “Craig and Laura 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.”
Hayes is also enjoying having a viral hit with “Fancy Like,” from his latest Country Stuff EP. Glad You’re Here will be distributed by Moody Publishing. A release date has yet to be announced.