Jimmy Wayne Raises Money and Good Times in Amarillo
Jimmy Wayne returned to the stage in Texas last week to perform a benefit concert for the Junior League of Amarillo. After an auction, which included an acoustic guitar signed by Jimmy, the singer took the stage with his high-octane opener, 'Cowboys and Engines,' followed by 'Shot Cowboy.'
For a man who has spent very few days performing in 2010, due to his project Meet Me Halfway solo-walk across America, Jimmy owned every inch of the stage, hitting all of the impossibly high notes and captivating his audience. He slowed things down with an emotional version of 'I Will,' followed by the poignant 'I Didn't Come Here to Lose,' 'After You' and 'Kerosene Kid.'
"It's good to be here, y'all!" Jimmy said with a smile as he rolled into his debut single, 'Stay Gone.'
After introducing his band -- Rob Daniels (lead guitar), Johnny Richardson (drums), Jake Clayton (fiddle, keys, guitar) and Luis Espaillat -- Jimmy continued with the fan-favorite 'Trespassin,'' found on his debut self-titled album. Mid-song, Jake jumped off the stage and danced his way through the crowd while playing an electrifying fiddle solo over his head. When he returned to the stage, Jake and Jimmy circled around each other while Rob shredded away on his guitar.
Fans stayed on their feet during Jimmy's chart-topping hit, 'Do You Believe Me Now,' which he followed with the Keith Urban-penned 'Thing I Believe,' which is on Jimmy's latest album, 'Sara Smile.'
"I'm going to take you back a long ways now," Jimmy told the crowd. "I found this next song on a Hall & Oates greatest hits CD. I started singing it when I moved to Nashville and it ended up getting me a record deal. So this song goes out to anyone who has a dream. Go after it. Chase it until you get it."
He then sang a soulful version of the 1976 classic, 'Sara Smile.' Following the song, Jimmy opened up about his younger years spent on the street and the inspiration behind his Meet Me Halfway campaign. "I decided in January to walk across America. I've always tried to write songs that sort of share my story," he explained. "I grew up as a foster kid and was a homeless teenager. The main reason for this walk is to raise awareness for at-risk homeless teens -- to keep them from aging out of the system and doing what I did -- become homeless.
"This next song is one of my all-time favorite songs I have ever written," he continued. "It was written from an experience from when I was in college. A professor told us all, 'Monday morning we're going to visit the Dallas [North Carolina] Detention Center down the street.' Well, I didn't need to go because I had already been. I went anyway. I was standing in the back of the group of students, and this staff member came out. I remembered him because he was the same person who checked me in on my 15th birthday. It was a very ironic situation. I'll never forget the things he said the night of my 15th birthday, and I'll never forget the things he said that day. He said, 'Good morning. This is the Dallas Detention Center, and in here we have all kinds of trash.' I raised my hand and said, 'Sir, you may not remember me, but my door used to be the last one on the right. I'll never forget the things you said then, but I've got to say ... these kids in here make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Some of these kids have been abandoned by their own parents. There's one thing they're not ... they're not trash.'
"So I decided to write this song in honor of all those folks out there who have ever been down on their luck. This song says it's not where you've been; it's where you're going."
He then finished his set with the powerful 'Where You're Going.' After exiting the stage, Jimmy returned solo with his acoustic guitar. As he made his way to the microphone, he once again thanked the crowd of nearly 1,000 and then continued his thanks with a moving rendition of 'I Love You This Much,' as the room hung on his every word.
But in true Jimmy fashion, he wasn't about to end on a sappy note. He lightened the mood back up, inviting his band back on stage for 'The Dog Song,' which he rarely performs live because of the tongue-and-cheek content.
Jimmy returned to the road -- literally -- this week as he continues on with his Meet Me Halfway campaign. He is currently just past the Texas state line in New Mexico. He expects to arrive in Phoenix by late June. To keep up with Jimmy's journey, follow him on Twitter or visit the official website.