Jimmy Wayne: Sara Smile


RIYL: Restless Heart, Dierks Bentley, Billy Currington

Jimmy Wayne became a country music star so fast in 2008 when the title track to his Valory Music debut, Do You Believe Me Now? rocketed to #1 on the Billboard country music chart, Wayne and his label did not want to waste any time before issuing the follow-up. Fast forward to November 2009, only 15 months later, and Wayne returned with Sara Smile. The title track, as you have likely already gathered, is a cover of the Hall & Oates hit from 1976 that ultimately reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and has been a staple on soft rock radio for decades. And really, if you consider how much success the country music genre has had “borrowing” songs from the pop/rock world, releasing a track that already was a hit is a good strategy when trying to follow up on what was basically overnight success. The problem, though, is that “Sara Smile” is easily the best track on Wayne’s sophomore release, and it’s made better by the fact that Daryl Hall and John Oates sing backing vocals on Wayne’s version. The rest of the songs, while mostly catchy and serviceable, and having been written by the likes of Keith Urban as well as Nashville powerhouse songwriters like Hillary Lindsey and Rivers Rutherford, are pretty good, but not great. Along with the title track, the best of the rest are the upbeat opener, “Things I Believe,” written by Urban and John Shanks; and the sugary power ballad “Counting the Days.” And lest we fail to mention, Wayne is surely one of the better male vocalists in Nashville today, and he has the supporting cast for staying power. (Valory Music 2009)

Jimmy Wayne MySpace Page

  

Love and Theft: World Wide Open


RIYL: Poco, Jimmy Wayne, Restless Heart

Every once in a while, a country act comes along that opens eyes and ears. Sometimes they’re so good that they also open mouths. Frankly, that may not seem to be difficult when many acts in the genre not only do not write their own music, but also don’t sing it. That might sound harsh, but it’s a fact of life on Music Row these days. But alas, there is a new kid in town, or, should we say, kids. Love and Theft is a trio of young men who can write, sing and deliver three-part harmonies that not only rival the best country has to offer, but also may bring to mind classic country rock acts like Poco and Restless Heart. Their debut on Carolwood, World Wide Open, is one insanely catchy song after another, and a breath of fresh air that could just amount to a hurricane in Nashville. The title track is punchy and powerful, and features the kind of chorus today’s music industry execs drool over, but there are plenty of other gems – like the rocking “Runaway,” the harmony drenched “Don’t Wake Me” and the stunning, goose-bump inducing closer “Drowning,” which is easily the best track on here. If you’ve been meaning to give country music another chance, make this be the band that brings you back. Heck, you don’t even have to dig country, because it’s just as much a pop record. Either way, Love and Theft is a young act with unlimited potential. (Carolwood 2009)

Love and Theft MySpace page

  

Jimmy Wayne: Do You Believe Me Now?

Every once in a while, some country artist and/or songwriter takes a chance on a song that doesn’t sound like everything else they release. Jimmy Wayne’s “Do You Believe Me Now?” the title track to his latest, and second album, is that song – essentially a great pop song sung with a twangy vocal and a lyrical theme that is left of center (guy sees the way other guy is looking at his girl, and fast-forwards to when he is the odd man out and the other guy has his girl now). Well, that, and the track is as catchy as anything you’ll ever hear. Read his bio, and you won’t help but feel for the guy, who once saw his stepfather shoot (and paralyze) his stepbrother’s wife and then attempt to kill Jimmy too when he was 15. But mostly this is a new country artist (who co-writes most of his material) armed with a solid album of hooky songs that reflect the variety of music his foster parents listened to – Hall & Oates, Alan Jackson, Iron Maiden among them. Other standouts are the breezy “I Will” and sultry semi-ballad “One on One.” With the title track recently hitting #1 on the country charts, the sky is the limit for Jimmy Wayne, and gives hope to some of the lesser-known but promising songwriting talent on Music Row. (Valory Music Co.)

Jimmy Wayne MySpace Page

  

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