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Waylon Payne - 'The Prodigal' Son Comes Back in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

We sometimes run into singer/songwriter and actor Waylon Payne while he is out getting in his exercise quotient on the Nashville Greenways. Now, the musician is swiftly walking down his own path that will finally more fully reveal the charismatic performer to a wider audience when The Prodigal is released in 2020.

Waylon Payne - The Prodigal Son Comes Back in Nashville
Frank Liddell, Waylon Payne and Eric Masse at The Casino in Nashville.

We had the pleasure of getting a first-hand listen to a half a dozen tracks on the record when we attended a listening party at The Casino Studio in Nashville on October 24, 2019. Waylon was on site to say hello before he had to head out for a Grand Ole Opry showcase at the revered Ryman later that night. Payne's lyrics were insightful and sung from the heart like a good old school country song should be. Some in the room noted the atmospheric elements of the tunes while others commented on his compelling compositions. The Prodigal is a record of redemption and reconciliation for a man who has been given the gift of a new beginning and a heightened sense of purpose.

"I'm back from the grave," Waylon Payne sings on his soon to be released album The Prodigal. For some folks, that statement is hyperbole, but in Payne's case, it's an understatement. The new record is an honest account of addiction, estrangement and heartbreak yet creatively shrouded in mystery.

Waylon is the son of guitarist Jody Payne (longtime picker for Willie Nelson) and Grammy Award-winning country singer Sammi Smith who toured with Waylon Jennings for whom he was named. Due to the separation of Waylon's parents paired with their heavy touring schedules, he was raised by strict Christian relatives. As a young man Payne moved to Nashville, Tennessee and was soon performing daily on Lower Broad before landing a gig with Shelby Lynne. The 2000's looked bright but his journey ran down into the valley of the shadow of death. Years later, goodness and mercy found their way back into Waylon's life.

Over the years he has achieved a high-level of familiarity with major movie roles portraying Jerry Lee Lewis in Walk the Line and Hank Garland in Crazy. But, true musical fame has mostly eluded the 47-year-old performer even as it appears to be looming just around the bend for him now.

He has penned songs for Ashley Monroe, Lee Ann Womak, Miranda Lambert and more. Yet, the time seemed right for Waylon to write his own story. The Prodigal was expertly produced by Frank Liddell and Eric Masse who allowed the artist to truly express himself on this deeply personal platter. Payne was also supported by a strong group of players who added plenty of fine nuances to punctuate Waylon's prose. With this forthcoming 2020 release that features a fair amount of hindsight and vision - the future has never looked so clear for the artist with the compelling comeback story. The Prodigal is so good that a celebration is in order.

Waylon Payne - The Prodigal Son Comes Back in Nashville
Waylon Payne performs at Skyville Live in 2017.

Related Links: For more information on the WAYLON PAYNE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Waylon Payne | Casino Studio


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