| By Kevin Wichman
Beaumont Club, 12/17/2004 With a biography that runs tears down the face when read alone, Jimmy Wayne has turned his bizarrely troubled past, family and upbringing into real, heartfelt music; honest, reflective, and pure country. A life story surreal enough to be captured on film someday, he has for now placed his stories in music. Living the foster life, and never hiding from his past, but rather embracing it; Wayne openly talks of his struggles and finds therapy (like many) through writing, while helping countless relating individuals cope within his voice’s reach. Much of the focus of the last tour was to draw attention during the holidays to The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, of which he once was a recipient. Talking directly to the crowd in his nearly humorous, candid, and usual bluntness, he recounted the year he graciously received a sole deck of Uno cards for Christmas, his younger sister a pair of men’s socks. He thanked those in the crowd who brought paper angels to the show that night, and to those who were out purchasing gifts at the toy store where he and the band hung out for the past three full days in KC volunteering. Wayne next dedicated his latest hit “Paper Angels” to all the children he wrote it for, recipients of the tree like him, whom he know advocates.
Before the turn around to success, Wayne suffered weathered emotional abuse, real violence, a mother in and out of prison, nearly starving at 9, and living on the streets alone at 16. Struggling to survive homeless, he asked to mow the lawn of an elderly couple one day. After a few months, despite knowing his unfair past, they asked Wayne to live in their spare bedroom, sealing hope for a turned around, healthy lifestyle. At age 13, his stepfather held a gun (after Wayne was ordered to load it) to his head after first beating him. The stepfather fired, missing only since Wayne was able to knock the drunken arm away. The next night, the stepfather shot Jimmy’s sister-in-law three times in the chest, paralyzing her, as he stood helpless watching. His real father was never before around… he told these compelling stories briefly before each song, giving insight to the upcoming song’s lyrics ‘He can’t remember the times that he thought…Does my daddy love me…Probably not,’ of top 5 hit “I Love You this Much”. Much the same for top 10 single “Stay Gone” about a sister’s troubled marriage of wanting her husband to ‘just stay gone’, and “Blue and Brown” about his close relationship with his foster brother whom he had lost touch with over the years. Chance meeting later in life, Wayne became a prison guard, the close foster brother soon became a new inmate. Jimmy himself, sobbingly walked his missed friend and brother off the bus to a cell, only to then turn the key, locking him sadly behind bars.
A miraculous vocalist and lyricist rivaling all talent across music genres, of news to me Friday night was Wayne’s proficiency at guitar. Quite the performer in music videos as seen solely singing, he barely took the guitar off his shoulder all night, busting out some impressive licks and solos, while concurrently singing harmoniously accurate. His musicianship and performances forever admirable, what could be most impressive about Jimmy Wayne, the artist, is Jimmy Wayne, the person. A forever inspiring man who has over come the worst of odds, next time he passes through town allow him to treat you to a surely memorable night.