Hayes was raised in central Ohio and started playing guitar at the age of nine. Inspired by the sounds of Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, and Tony Rice, Hayes completely immersed himself in the world of bluegrass and acoustic music at a young age. As a teenager, Hayes gained recognition playing in local bluegrass bands and winning local flatpick competitions.
Looking to broaden his musical training, Hayes began studying bluegrass and jazz music at Denison University, earning a B.A. in Music Performance in 2010. That same year Hayes began pursuing a master’s degree in Contemporary Improvisation at the New England Conservatory and studying privately under the the late, great John McGann.
In 2012, Hayes was given the opportunity to play and record with renowned Canadian fiddler April Verch, hitting the road for nearly 250 days a year and playing in over 12 countries and 38 states.
In 2016, Hayes joined Lexington-based bluegrass outfit, Newtown and recorded on their Mountain Home Music Company release, "Harlan Road."
Currently Hayes lives in Grand Rapids, MI where he teaches at Grand Valley State University and runs Built to Last Music Notes, LLC, a transcription and music publishing business.