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Waylon Payne

Waylon Payne
“Hank Garland”

Ask Waylon Payne about his earliest musical memory and he vividly recalls bringing a stack of records into his kindergarten classroom for "Show-and-Tell" and quite matter-of-factly proclaiming he would be a singer when he grew up. It made total sense to him. His mom Sammi Smith won a Grammy for "Help Me Make It Through the Night," and his dad Jody Payne has been a longtime guitarist in Willie Nelson's band. Heck, his godfather was Waylon Jennings. At the time, he thought everyone's parents were on the radio.

"Everybody was bringing in trucks and things, and I brought in a stack of my momma's records and Willie Nelson's records and played them for everybody. I said, 'When I grow up, I'm gonna play rock and roll and sing and be bad,'" he says with a laugh.

Payne's time to play, sing and "be bad" has now arrived, but the road leading up to this point has been long, yet rewarding. He's taken the stage alongside his father and Willie Nelson countless times, serve as a harmony vocalist in friend Shelby Lynne's touring band and realized a lifelong dream by playing the Grand Ole Opry. He's also done an awful lot of drifting, naturally.

And those years helped him develop a musical style that's rooted in everything from Willie and Chet Baker to Etta James and Shelby Lynne (whose "Jesus on a Greyhound" he covers on The Drifter).

While in Nashville, he befriended Lynne during a chance encounter at the Country Music Association awards. Payne was there to see his father, Lynne was appearing on the show. They immediately connected, later becoming tight friends. He would sing alongside Lynne for a short time before drifting west to Los Angeles, where he hit his stride as both a writer and singer over the past few years, as he worked odd jobs and the L.A. club circuit.

In 2003, he co-wrote a pair of songs for buddy and fellow Texan Pat Green's Wave on Wave disc, which led to a deal with Green's label, Universal, and the realization of a dream and has recently released his first album, “The Drifter, which went into stores in July 2004.

In 2004 Waylon was featured in Fox 2000’s Johnny Cash biopic “Walk The Line” starring as Jerry Lee Lewis. He played opposite Joaquin Phoenix (Cash) and Reese Witherspoon (June Carter).

Visit Waylon's website at: http://www.waylonpayne.com

Waylon Payne Filmography:
Crazy (2006)
Walk The Line (2005)

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