Jimmy Wayne featuring Whitney Duncan – “Just Knowing You Love Me”
Songwriters: Jimmy Wayne, Brett Beavers and Tony Martin.
Don’t let Jimmy Wayne’s smooth delivery fool you: The singer’s life story is stuff of country music songwriters’ dreams. Between an absent dad, trigger-happy stepfather, near-death experience, bout of homelessness and a job as a prison guard, it would make sense for Wayne to easily fall rank and file into country’s honky-tonk niche.
Instead, Wayne has made his name on easy-listening ballads “Do You Believe Me Now” (which reached number one on the country charts), “I Love You This Much” and “Sara Smile,” the title track of his latest album and a throwback to 70s-staple Hall & Oats. He continues that trend with “Just Knowing You Love Me,” a phone-in performance that never quite lives up to what it could be.
The song’s premise is a nice, relatable shout out to the quiet strength of true love, despite life’s uncertainties. The lyrics, while neither groundbreaking nor original, easily convey that comforting relief: “Just knowing you love me, no way that’s never gonna change/That’s what keeps me going/Knowing I can just call your name and your arms will open/That’s all the strength I need.”
Unfortunately, “Just Knowing You Love Me” suffers from bad execution: While its focus on the stability of love is certainly warm and fuzzy, any real emotion behind the lyrics is drowned out by its noisy, driving production choices. Even Wayne, whose vocals are particularly lackluster and bland here, sounds like he has no investment in what he is singing.
The bright spot in the song is Wayne’s almost-duet with Whitney Duncan, a former Nashville Star contestant whose singles “When I Said I Would,” “The Bed You Made” and “Skinny Dippin’” have yet to stick with country radio. She adds a much-needed spark to the otherwise bland tune, despite slipping into Miley Cyrus mode with awkward “yeah yeahs” and “mmm-hmm” insertions.
Duncan’s contributions, however small, offer a glimpse of what the song could have been if fleshed out to better show the dynamic between the man and woman featured in the tune’s lyrics. As it stands, “Just Knowing You Love Me,” unlike the everlasting love it describes, will come and go without much of a fight.
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