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Jimmy Wayne - Sara Smile

November 23, 2009 - The Valory Music Company (Big Machine Records)

by Jackie Lee King

Jimmy Wayne - Sara Smile "Sara Smile," Jimmy Wayne's third CD really should have been called "Faith," considering it's a running theme in each of the eleven songs on this release. Beginning with the opening track "Things I Believe," penned by Keith Urban and John Shanks, Jimmy notes that it's the little things, like changing one's point of view that can give you strength. "Instead of saying I'm lucky, saying I'm blessed," is all that it takes to alleviate the weight of trying to make something work. Declare your faith in the people around you, and they won't disappoint. It is this type of conviction to seek the truth that continues to be his mantra as he looks to the past and how it's affected his future.

The first single off of the CD is a cover of the classic Daryl Hall & John Oates song, "Sara Smile." The song has been a Noah's dove for Jimmy as it has led him from being a prison guard to a Country singer. "Upon returning a rental suit, I discovered a Hall & Oates greatest hits CD in a bargain box sitting on a table outside a department store in the old Gaston Mall, in Gastonia NC," Jimmy notes on his MySpace page. "Sara Smile," immediately got his attention and from that point on he was singing the song everywhere he went, even at Nashville songwriter nights, though he didn't write the song. One of those places that he performed the song was in the office of Scott Borchetta (The Valory Music co.), which in turn got him a record deal. Now, with Hall and Oats blessing, as they both sing backup on this song, 'Sara' has come home with Jimmy. His version has a little country swagger in the mix, but is still soulful enough to convey the song's tender message of love and support. It just goes to show you that a well-written song is timeless, even thirty-three years later.

Time is the secondary theme on this record and how, if enough of it passes, you can learn something about yourself. "All the Time in The World," is an instant classic that will truly stand the test of time. It has the intensity of true love and how those feelings never run dry, even when one person leaves. The way the lyrics and music dance intertwined with bittersweet memories and sweeping motions of strings and steel guitar, makes it a stand out song that you won't soon forget. The counterpart of this song, and maybe the other side of the conversation, is set in the poetic ballad, "Counting the Days."

"Sometimes the choice is not to leave or stay but just to face the truth there in front of you. I'm not real sure just how far I'll have to go, but I've finally realized that I don't need to know."

On this track Jimmy's band really takes it up a notch as both the violin and guitars (steel and otherwise) move to the foreground in the mix. There is some seasoning on this CD that developed with his previous release "Do You Believe Me Now" (2007). The music for this CD was recorded in-between tour dates of Brad Paisley's American Saturday Night Tour in the summer of 2009. The song selections on this release, four of which were written by Jimmy, show a growth of musicianship and have more of an easy going sound. He is no longer that lonesome kid walking home from the store, but a country clad troubadour spreading the message of how time and faith can help the weary heart.

But that's not to say that there's nothin' but poignant ballads on this CD, no sir. In "There's a Memory," Jimmy rev's the engine back up like a Sunday afternoon NASCAR race with your money on a sure bet. You can't just sit back and let life happen to you; there are memories to be made. This song, as well as the soulful "I'll Never Leave You,' really stretches Jimmy's vocal ability.

The CD concludes with the song "Elephant Ears" which gives a good insight on what it's like to be a foster child, an issue very close to Jimmy's own heart. Sometimes when we cannot find the right words, or are unable to speak them, it's comforting to know that we can find another way to communicate what we want to say. Don't be afraid to say that you love someone for fear that you may loose them.

The power of this collection is that there really are no filler songs. It has the determination of his previous work, but now there are more subtle country moments to this crooner. This is what happens when you let go of the past and embrace what is good in life. God is definitely in the mix and yet release is a testament to the power of the human spirit that can overcome any obstacle with faith and time. Jimmy has finally found his pacing and moves beyond the Nashville scene to National status, but is still humble enough to pay homage to his North Carolina Roots.

  • Things I believe - 3:20
  • All the time in the world - 3:39
  • Sara Smile - 3:47
  • Just knowing you love me - 4:06
  • Just look at you - 3:45
  • Counting the days - 4:11
  • There's a memory - 3:33
  • Belong to you - 3:44
  • I'll never leave you - 4:00
  • Elephant Ears - 4:27