The idea for Walker Hayes' new love song "Don't Let Her" came to him in the middle of the night in Glasgow, Scotland. He was struggling with boredom and what would have been the six month birthday of his baby girl, Oakleigh, had she not died shortly after birth, so he started texting himself specifics about his wife Laney.

“At the same time, I don’t know why, I was thinking about a game she and I have played our entire relationship," he tells Taste of Country. "And that game is the whole, ‘What would you do if something happened to me?’ game.”

The two ideas collided to form a love song that Hayes is proud of unlike any love song he's ever heard in country music. Quickly he sent her the chorus and got a response he didn't expect. From there Shane McAnally and Andrew DeRoberts helped him flush out the verses, all of which pull no punches in detailing his wife's peculiarities and insecurities.

“The ‘Let her sleep as late as she wants’ line, like that is my wife. That’s her life. Like she has to sleep late every day,” he says. "And when she pours her coffee, she pours honey in her cup first and I'm always like 'For real? You're still going? That's a half a cup of honey!'"

"Don’t you dare come home if you’re hammered / Better watch your mouth and your grammar / She loves babies, hates glitter," Hayes sings.

All true to who Hayes' high school sweetheart is today.

“That’s a personal line for me," the 39-year-old says of the "hammered" lyric. "I’m vocal about my battles of alcoholism. I’ll be four years sober this October. That was a way for her to laugh at the past.”

Two lyrics in particular really humanize the song while making it universal. The first is the letter-like nature described in the first verse. The second is Hayes bringing up a sore subject for Laney. "She’s insecure about legs, right / Something wrong with her head, right / Just tell her she’s crazy / Even though she won’t believe it," he sings.

“Laney, she’s had a lot of kids. Her legs have changed and she doesn’t like them," the "Broke Up With Me" hitmaker and 2019 Taste of Country Festival performer says. "I look at them and I see our life and I see our kids and I understand why she’s like, ‘Gross, my legs.’ That’s a personal thing that I didn’t ask her … and now she’s like, ‘Man, everybody’s gonna look at my legs.’”

TBD on that worry. When Hayes finished the chorus last winter in Scotland, he says he was ecstatic because he believed he'd found that happy place between personal and commercial. Time will tell, but he did manage to please his toughest critic.

“I sent it to Laney, and she’s a tough crowd — the toughest of all,” he says. “Especially anything love related, she is a tough person to get a response. She responded something like 'This made me tear up.’”

The full lyrics to "Don't Let Her" are below.

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Walker Hayes' "Don't Let Her" Lyrics: 

She always said if something ever / Happened to me she would never / Fall in love again / What a waste / We always said we’d go together / But if I’m just half of her forever / This goes out to whoever / Takes my place.

Chorus:
She don’t give two cents about money / Likes a little coffee in her honey / Let her sleep late as she wants / Home is her favorite restaurant / Don’t you dare come home if you’re hammered / Better watch your mouth and your grammar / She loves babies, hates glitter / You better shave before you kiss her / And if she ever misses me, please, don’t let her.

She’s insecure about legs, right / Something wrong with her head, right / Just tell her she’s crazy / Even though she won’t believe it / Best advice I can give you, brother / Don’t ever say she’s acting just like her mother / Even though she does sometimes / It’s gonna be our little secret.

Repeat Chorus

Make her feel better / Say something funny / Say something ‘bout the weather / Tell her wherever I am / I’m good and if she thinkin’ she could love again / She should…understood?

Orchids, that’s her favorite flower / Don’t ever watch “The Office” without her / After church, she gonna talk / Her favorite season is football.