CD Sara Smile (CD 6257016),
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Sara Smile

  • 1. Things I Believe
    2. All The Time in the World
    3. Sara Smile - (featuring John Oates)
    4. Just Knowing You Love Me
    5. Just Look At You
    6. Counting The Days
    7. There's A Memory
    8. Belongs To You
    9. I'll Never Leave You
    10. Elephant Ears
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): VMCAJW0200

  • Credits

    Composer: Jonathan Yudkin.
    Personnel: Jimmy Wayne (acoustic guitar); Nathan Chapman, Ilya Toshinsky (acoustic guitar); Dann Huff (electric guitar, mandolin); Dan Dugmore, John Shanks, Tom Bukovac (electric guitar); Mike Johnson , Paul Franklin , Scott Sanders (steel guitar); Jonathan Yudkin (mandolin, violin, fiddle, viola, cello); Jake Clayton, Andy Leftwich (fiddle); Charlie Judge (strings, keyboards, percussion, loops); Jimmy Nichols (keyboards); Chris McHugh, Nick Buda, Lonnie Wilson (drums); Eric Darken (percussion); Wes Hightower (background vocals).
    Recording information: Blackbird Studios, Nashville, TN; Masterfonics, Nashville, TN; Starstruck Studios, Nashville, TN.
    Photographer: Justin Nolan Key.
    Arranger: Jonathan Yudkin.
    Jimmy Wayne is no fool. While the five-year break between his 2003 debut and 2008's Do You Believe Me Now? was precipitated by one label going out of business and his contract being transferred to another -- given the fickle nature of radio programmers and audiences seeking the next big thing, it was a minor miracle that the title single hit the number one spot on Billboard's country chart. He knew not to tempt fate a second time. Wayne wasted no time; he toured hard to support it, and then jumped right back into the studio to record Sara Smile. The album is named after the Hall & Oates' classic -- they appear on it as well. It's a reverent version -- except for the banjo introducing it, and the Nashville production style that includes pedal steel, prominent fiddles, and mandolins. Wayne recorded the song for two reasons: it's the song that got him his first record deal as a singer, and because it has been a live staple since the beginning, his live audience demanded it. Wayne basically apes Hall's lead vocal -- including falsetto -- note for note. The smooth Hall & Oates backing vocal ices the cake. And despite it appearing on a contemporary country record, it is still unmistakably a soul song and Wayne pulls it off in spades. Wayne wrote or co-wrote four of the album's ten tracks. Other notables include the anthemic "Things I Believe," with its bluegrass banjo and cracking snare drum. "Just Knowing You Love Me" also pays its own kind of tribute -- musically anyway -- to the John Mellencamp Lonesome Jubilee album, with its Lisa Germano-esque fiddle in between verses and the structure of the refrains. But it's a killer track with Wayne's great lyrics and the infectious melody that rouses the listener to believe every word from the protagonist's mouth. Another original number, "I'll Never Leave You," is a country ballad with a gentle beatbox rhythm track, but otherwise drenched in acoustic and electric guitars. The melody is instantly memorable; the emotion in Wayne's voice is direct, and rings true as the morning sun. Other than the title cut, it's the best love song on the album. Three full-lengths in, Wayne is transcending his singles artist status and becoming an album-oriented one because of the musical consistency and hardcore emotional intensity of his singing and writing. ~ Thom Jurek

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