Hayes was in his early 20s when he began churning out such enduring hits as “Old Enough to Know Better,” “I’m Still Dancing with You,” “On a Good Night” and “What I Meant to Say.” A second generation Country singer from Bethel Acres, Oklahoma, Hayes grew up watching his dad perform. The young guitarist’s dream was to be the next Don Rich, Buck Owens’ revered guitar player and one of Country Music’s most legendary sidemen.
Hayes began realizing that goal when Johnny Lee tapped the young musician to be his lead guitarist, but he just wasn’t meant to be a sideman. His debut single, “Old Enough to Know Better,” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and Hayes was nominated for the ACM’s Top New Male Vocalist honor. Two of Hayes’ four major label albums have been certified gold by the RIAA, and hits such as “Don’t Stop,” “The Day That She Left Tulsa (In a Chevy)” and “How Do You Sleep at Night” continue to be fan favorites in his shows.
In 2009, he released the critically acclaimed independent album, A Place to Turn Around, and continued to tour extensively until his world came to a screeching halt when he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in the fall of 2011. It was a surprise to everyone, even the doctors. Because Hayes was so young, doctors initially thought the symptoms were the result of him working out too strenuously and lifting too much weight. After extensive surgery and debilitating chemotherapy, Hayes battled his way back to health only to have the cancer return in the fall of 2012.
In addition to writing and recording, Hayes has been back on the road.He also enjoys spending time at his 11-acre farm outside Nashville where one of his favorite hobbies is restoring old pickup trucks. He makes time to share his experience with cancer and encourage others fighting the battle.