Last night, New York country fans got to experience an intimate show at Mercury Lounge in lower Manhattan with two extremely talented singer-songwriters, Hannah Ellis and Walker Hayes. Prior to the show, Ellis joined NYCountry Swag for a Live Swag Session where she answered questions and sang two songs, check out the Swag Session below. This was Ellis’ first time opening for Hayes and judging by the way the crowd responded it hopefully won’t be the last. She started the night by saying, “How we doing New York!? I’m so excited to be here, my name is Hannah Ellis! I’m excited to be opening up for Walker Hayes! We are going to have some fun tonight, we are going to get you all warmed up!” Kicking off her set with the first song from her self-titled EP, “Temporary Feelings”.
The singer-songwriter got the crowd going by throwing in some cover songs to get everyone in the singing mood. She covered Lady Antebellum’s hit “Downtown” as well as The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” before going 90s R&B singing “No Diggity” by Blackstreet, getting the crowd excited for what’s to come. Before going any further, she took a moment in her set to talk about songwriting saying, “Selfishly we also get to go in there and kind of pour out our hearts and talk about where we’ve been and what we’re dealing with…it’s almost therapeutic for us and it’s just been really special to watch people kind of respond to this song.” Slowing down her set, she performed her unreleased song “Past The Past,” showing off her incredible vocals and vulnerability.
As her set was coming to an end, she couldn’t leave the stage without singing her current single “Home and A Hometown,” saying “It’s one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written, it’s just my life story, it’s where I come from, where I ended up and where I plan to go.” The entire audience sang back the lyrics, making Ellis emotional saying, “I’m going to go cry about that later…Y’all are incredible!” Making her last two songs count, Ellis kept it upbeat singing her debut single “ILY So What” and closing out her set with “Friends Like These”.
Next up was the headliner himself, Walker Hayes, kicking off his set with his song “Prescriptions.” A couple of songs in, Hayes started talking to the crowd saying, “I was saying to the little VIP thing we did earlier, how much fans mean to me and y’all need to know, thank y’all for showing up, thank you for knowing words to songs that are only on 8Tracks not even albums…it’s been an incredible year for us, this show and our last show marks new material, we got new music coming out and I’m excited…but we still do the oldies but goodies.” Hayes performed 12 songs, covering his hits including fan favorites, “Beautiful,” “Beckett,” “Lela’s Stars”, and “Dollar Store.”
Keeping up the energy, the singer-songwriter performed his brand new single “90’s Country” for the crowd. Read our exclusive interview with Hayes where he discusses the writing process for the song here. As the night continued, Hayes surprised the crowd by bringing out opener Hannah Ellis for his song, “Halloween.” The two artists, took the stage, combining their talents to create one perfect duet. As the night was nearing the end, Hayes continued to get personal, telling everyone about his time working at Costco, having six kids, and the man who inspired his personal and emotional single “Craig”. Be sure to take a look back at our Live Swag Session with Walker Hayes below.
As the night came to the end, Hayes said, “Let’s break it down…this song went Platinum last year just like I hope “90’s Country” will, let’s go crazy, feel free!” singing his hit song “You Broke Up With Me”. When it was time for the last song of the night, Hayes thanked the crowd for coming out and singing along, “This is how we go out”, singing the song “Shut Up Kenny” about his favorite artist of all time, Kenny Chesney.
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