The Grand Ole Alibi Presents Waylon Payne
October 15 @ 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm$15
Magic happens when everything comes together like it’s supposed to – when the joys and the pain, the triumphs and the missteps all click into place to be seen for what they truly are. Waylon Payne’s Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me is such a moment, the culmination of an extraordinary journey set to music.
A son of country music royalty, a teenaged Baptist preacher turned addict and actor, Payne sings about fathers and sons, faith and addiction, recovery and renewal with devastating clarity. His character-rich collection harks back to a way of telling stories in song that revealed kept secrets and promised mystery. Over his years, Payne has felt the terrible power secrets can hold and learned the transformative value of releasing them. Finally, he’s in a place where he can harness that power to create transcendent work.
Payne recorded Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me primarily at Southern Ground Nashville, a converted century-old church building just off Music Row that once housed Monument Studios. Payne’s mother, country singer Sammi Smith, cut her iconic version of Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” at Monument.
To help realize his musical vision, Payne worked with producers Eric Masse (Miranda Lambert, Rayland Baxter, Robert Ellis) and Frank Liddell (Lambert, Lee Ann Womack, Chris Knight) to assemble a group of musicians that spanned both genres and generations. In addition to highly regarded players like bassist Glenn Worf; guitarists Jedd Hughes, Ethan Ballinger, and Kris Donegan; and drummer Blake Oswald, the team brought in Cage the Elephant guitarist Nick Bockrath, as well as Mickey Raphael, Willie Nelson’s longtime harmonica player and a former band mate of Payne’s father, Jody Payne. Jerry Roe, like Payne a second-generation music man whose father spent years working for Johnny Cash, played both bass and drums. Other musicians on the album include longtime guitar player and friend Dean Person, slide guitarist Harrison Whitford, and violist Kristin Wilkinson, who arranged and conducted all the strings.
As a result, Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me sounds both timeless and out of time. It exists in music’s liminal spaces, the way the late ’60s and early ’70s albums of Kris Kristofferson and Bobbie Gentry did in their day.