Jimmy Wayne – “Sara Smile”

Sam Gazdziak | September 28th, 2009

jimmy-wayne-sara-smileSongwriters: Daryl Hall & John Oates.

The 1970s and ’80s get unfairly maligned as across-the-board musical low points. It’s truth that the ’70s, being the decade that gave us both disco and “Afternoon Delight,” don’t have a lot of defense, while the 1980s music retrospectives that VH1 used to air (before it turned into a celebrity dating channel) brought as many winces as fond memories. Did we really listen to “Never Gonna Give You Up” in an un-ironic way?

But there was plenty of great music from that era, and if a singer wanted to go back 20 or 30 years for a cover, there’s Gram Parsons, Emmylou, Willie & Waylon, Don Williams and Merle Haggard to fall back on. Want to go in a rock direction? Try Tom Petty, Talking Heads or The Pretenders. The point is, if you’re going to make a list of music to cover from that era, Hall & Oates would rank somewhere way, way down the list.

However, if you’re Jimmy Wayne, Hall & Oates is your go-to choice, and “Sara Smile,” the duo’s first Top 5 hit (from 1976), is the song for you. Wayne does it in a very straightforward, almost reverential way, not even trying to turn a ’70s R&B hit into something remotely resembling a country song. Sure, there’s a banjo and steel at the beginning of the track, but that lasts about 10 seconds. After that, the song launches into the world of blue-eyed soul singing and monster ballad guitar solos. Nothing original, nothing creative, nothing country.

To be fair, Wayne sings the song well and throws out more than a fair share of R&B melisma. Hall & Oates are barely audible, so their contribution to the song is negligible (thank goodness for small favors). However, this song, plain and simple, has no business being played on a country radio station as the attempts to make it “sound country” are laughable. This is a ‘Lite FM’ song, and would sound right at home between Michael Bolton and Celine Dion.

There are plenty of ways to take pop songs and countrify them. Both the Derailers and the Be Good Tanyas have made Prince sound like a Music Row songwriter, and Brooks & Dunn excelled with “My Maria.” But if this is what Wayne wants to sing, you have to wonder why he even tried a country music career in the first place.

Thumbs Down

  1. Steve M.
    September 28, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Whats next-the country cover of “Maneater” or “Method of Love”? This isn’t a bad cover, but its pointless when it sounds almost exactly like the original.

  2. frozenphan
    September 28, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Sorry, I love mid ’70s pop and Hall and Oates. This version is an abomination.

    Jimmy Wayne…all I ask is that you “Stay Gone”.

  3. TenPoundHammer
    September 28, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    +2 bonus points for the Rick Astley reference.

    Also, it’s kind of funny that most of the songs that I’ve given positive reviews on are getting thumbs-downs here. Who says all music critics are like-minded?

  4. Leeann Ward
    September 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Good call on the Be Good Tanyas/Prince reference. It’s funky, but fun.

    This song? Not so much.

  5. stormy
    September 28, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I can’t believe he passed up the chance to make the quintessential country cover of Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.

  6. silvio
    September 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    While I agree it’s not really country (what is these days?) and it’s too much like the original to leave much of an impression, why all the hatred for Hall & Oates? If you’re that biased against H&O, is there any way you could listen to this song with an open mind? Just wondering…

  7. Sam G.
    September 28, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    As I write this, I’m listening to the Hangdogs take “Midnight Train to Georgia” and turn it into a alt-country song. I never much cared for the original, but I like the Hangdogs’ version. If Wayne had shown any initiative other than doing a rote version of the song, I’d have at least given him credit for showing some originality.

  8. Steve M.
    September 28, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Hall and Oates in the beginning were a good blue eyed soul bad from Philly. “Sara Smiles” was probably their best song. That given, their stuff in the 80s is downright scary in badness. Like Rascal Flatts bad.

  9. Drew
    September 28, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Terrible. Go away Jimmy Wayne.

  10. JD
    September 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    This song sucked back then and it still do…

  11. Vicki
    September 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Ok..I loved this song then and I love it now. What little he does to make it his own and I do mean little, doesn’t really add or detract from the original. But I was always a big Hall and Oats fan and it was enjoyable for me to hear this. Will I buy it? No, I’ll just bring out the original one.

  12. Rick
    September 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Hey, the listening link button says “Heartland – Mustache”! That would be enough to scare me away from listening! (lol)

    Most of Jimmy Wayne’s teenybopper girl fan base weren’t even born yet when Hall & Oates were doing well on the charts. This song will be completely new to them, and since they don’t care for real country music this song is perfect! Jimmy knows what his fans want and couldn’t care less about the rest of us. Personally I’d much rather hear a country remake of “She’s a Maneater”! (lol)

  13. Lee S.
    September 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Now I’m imagining Jimmy Wayne covering “Never Gonna Give You Up.” And maybe it’s because I DO enjoy that song in an un-ironic sort of way, it’s kinda unnerving.

    Then again, Rick Astley singing “Do you Believe Me Now” would be odd too…

    Oh, right. “Sara Smile.” It seems to be that Jimmy should be trying to get some good hits of his own, instead of covering others at this point in his career. His last album had some decent songs hidden under the bombastic production. Maybe he’ll get it right this time.

  14. Paul W Dennis
    September 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I don’t agree that the 70s were a musical wasteland, in fact for country music, the landscape was more wide open than it ever was before or since. The 70s saw huge mainstream stars such as Charlie Pride, Freddie Hart, Conway Twitty; the “outlaw Movement”; a strong singer-songwriter movement led by Tom T Hall, but with such unphotogenic types as Linda Hargrove,Vince Matthews, Billy Joe Shaver, David Allan Coe, Kris Kristofferson and Guy Clark; the rise of additional minority-group country singers such as O.B. McClinton, Stoney Edwards,Johnny Rodriguez, Otis Williams and the Midnight Cowboys and Linda Martel.

    Even with pop and R&B the seventies are unfairly maligned – the first half of the decade produced geat music in both areas. Granted , once funk and disco arrived things went downhill in R&B, never to recover …

    As far a cover of “Sara Smile” – I’m okay with it as long as he doesn’t make a habit of it – heck Taylor Swift’s teeny bopper crowd will think this is “too country” for country radio

  15. Jaime
    September 28, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    I would rather listen to “Mustache” than Jimmy Wayne anyway. :)

  16. Ron
    September 28, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    This just goes to show that a lot of what is considered country today was what was called soft rock in the 70’s. Little River Band and the like would be country today.

    As for the song, I couldn’t finish listening to it. If I want to hear it, I’ll listen to the original. It is better.

  17. Mayor Jobob
    September 28, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I would have preferred him to do a cover of Private eyes!

  18. Wade
    September 28, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    This song is not good, not good at all…

  19. Razor X
    September 28, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    This song is not good, not good at all…

    What were you expecting, a masterpiece? Remember that this is Jimmy Wayne we’re talking about.

  20. Phil
    September 29, 2009 at 12:34 am

    It made me want to go back and listen to “Sara” by Jefferson Starship at least. I used to like that song…not so much this one.

  21. Steve Harvey
    September 29, 2009 at 12:54 am

    The 1970s and ’80s get unfairly maligned as across-the-board musical low points.
    The 70s yes. The 70s was the decade in which The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd, David Bowie and T Rex reached their zenith.
    The 80s was a cultural cesspool. A rancid pit of synth-laden, overproduced crap. Even the good music sounded bad. The 80s was a decade when Guns n Roses were considered ‘a great band’. Even great artists with great musicians and songs had their material ruined by appalling production – Michael Jackson springs to mind.

  22. Thomas
    September 29, 2009 at 4:19 am

    mislabelling is not an offense but neither is it a job well done. the song’s ok, if you enjoy adult-movie soundtracks.

  23. Stephen H.
    September 29, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I like the song. I don’t like this version. Maybe if Jimmy’s vocals were muted and Hall & Oates were brought out front and center … oh wait, that’s just the original version. I’ll just listen to that one. This should not be a country song.

    (Seriously, I’m not sure what’s with all the Hall & Oates hate in this thread.)

  24. the pistolero
    September 29, 2009 at 11:38 am

    The 80s was a decade when Guns n Roses were considered ‘a great band’.
    You mean they weren’t? To each his on, but I thought Appetite for Destruction was one of the greatest albums in any genre, and the three(?) albums that came after it were pretty good as well. Axl had serious issues to be sure, but I think American rock music would have been much poorer without his band’s contribution to it — even if glam metal had not been as big as it was.

  25. the pistolero
    September 29, 2009 at 11:41 am

    To each his OWN, I mean..

  26. Charles Murphy
    September 29, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Once again, the Nashville Music Row folks prove they want to be what was without being true to what made Nashville music famous in the first place. What a joke!!!
    And how does Jimmy Wayne still have a career with not playing live that much??

  27. Matt B.
    September 29, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Paul,

    I wouldn’t expect Jimmy Wayne to make a habit of recording cover songs like this. He is doing this because this song A. got him his record deal, B. he loves Hall and Oates and C. his label wanted to release it.

  28. Mayor Jobob
    September 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I have Hall & Oates’ Greatest hits. I own NOTHING of Jimmy Wayne.

  29. Robert
    September 29, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Why the hating on jimmy wayne? he is a very good singer, and has put out some truly good songs, stay gone, you are and paper angels not the least of them. I wouldn’t put him in the box you guys like to call country, because i do not believe in boxes. they’re the refuge of people afraid to step out of themselves. if a song is good, call it good and move on. if an artist is good, don’t make ridiculous to 80’s singers in an attempt to get a laugh, and then proceed to knock the artist in every way manageable. Do you believe me now, the album is probably one of my favorite album of the year, up there now with revolution and little big towns latest offering. i think that if you guys sat down, opened your minds, and got rid of the obvious bias you have towards anything even leaning slightly towards ‘contemporary country’ you would find you enjoyed it much more.

  30. Robert
    September 29, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    *edit* ridiculous references to 80’s singers. Sorry.

  31. the pistolero
    September 30, 2009 at 1:06 am

    because i do not believe in boxes. they’re the refuge of people afraid to step out of themselves.

    Mmmm, pretentious pontificating aside, we can argue about what’s country and what isn’t all day long, but beyond those arguments there are perfectly valid and legitimate reasons for dividing different music into genres, or “boxes” as you so derisively refer to them. It would only follow that those genres would get to mean something to people, and, well, I don’t see anything wrong with that either.

  32. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 8:00 am

    I only use ‘boxes’ in a derivative term because so many reviewers on here do. From Jimmy Wayne to Josh gracin to Gloriana, people who make music in a non traditional way are blasted here. Obviously music generally falls into a category, butto me country music is all about the song, and the bloggers here make every effort to shoot down everybody who doesn’t sound like Hank or Waylon…both of whom I love btw. It’s just a sad trend to expect everything to sound one way. Do you know how boring that would be??? Just turn on ur local top 40 station to find out

  33. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 8:12 am

    *edit* derisively….sorry.

  34. stormy
    September 30, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Yes, because board favorites like Miranda Lambert, Neko Case and Kris Kristofferson are just so danged traditional……

  35. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Actually, Miranda lambert is frequently praised for her traditional take on country. If kris kristofferson isn’t traditional who is??? The guys been doing it forever, and his songwriting is simply amazing. My point is I have never heard pop country, contemporary country, or any similar term used positively. I agree a lot of it is garbage…fast ryde being the latest example, but the reviews of people like Emerson Drive, Jimmy Wayne, or little big town, who if memory serves me has never even been mentioned here, are pathetic. I think that there is a lot of obvious bias here. The staff is certainly knowlegeable, funny, and devoted, but they would be so much better if they gave contemporary country a shot

  36. Steve M.
    September 30, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Well to be fair, the music of Emerson Drive is pathetic, so it works itself out.

  37. Brady Vercher
    September 30, 2009 at 9:29 am

    A few positive reviews from the past couple months. Let me know if any of these are considered traditional or if they sound anything like Hank or Waylon.

    Jason Aldean – “The Truth”
    Gloriana – “How Far Do You Wanna Go”
    Taylor Swift – “Fifteen”
    Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”
    Miranda Lamber – “White Liar”
    Lee Brice – “Love Like Crazy”
    Zac Brown Band – “Toes”

    And if you ask me, it’s Jimmy Wayne’s music that’s pathetic.

  38. Josh
    September 30, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Never gonna give you up!!! Man! I actually hate that song now!! All because of that stupid viral video that’s spread on Youtube as you get hacked/fooled into believing you are watching/listening to something else. Grrr…plus that song tend to get into my brain’s bad side often. As for Jimmy Wayne, I do admire some of his songs, but not the entire album packages. With him, I’m selective.

  39. Chris N.
    September 30, 2009 at 10:00 am

    The constant “you guys hate anything non-traditional” gripe doesn’t really deserve a response anymore.

  40. Thomas
    September 30, 2009 at 10:13 am

    yep, stating the bleeding obvious really gets boring after a while.

  41. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 11:27 am

    ok. jason aldeans single got a thumbs up for being “the most country-sounding song he’s ever released” no mention of a good set of lyrics or melodies, which is what even the best contempory country songs get blasted for.

    Gloriana gets a thumbs up, despite saying “if you’re willing to look past its gloss and its shine, there’s a catchy and fun tune waiting underneath.” why is it bad to have gloss and shine? why is that something to look past?

    15 is actually a very good review, despite my personal lukewarm feelings towards Taylor. Well written song, well written review.

    miranda lamberts song is praised for being “so far removed the bombastic, hook-pounding songs the format favors.” again, why is a good hook a bad thing?

    there is a pattern here. Tight, polished songs are dissed, because they do not fit the elitist ‘traditional label.’ It’s as if you guys look down on anyone who would dare to listen to ‘todays’ music, and the songs you give thumbs up to, that fit this format, are all given thumbs up in SPITE of being glossy, shiny, and catchy, not because of it

  42. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 11:32 am

    And i don’t think Emerson Drive is pathetic at all. They are glossier and more pop than, say, kris kristofferson, but they are good nonetheless. Brad Mates has a truly great voice, as is evidenced by his performances on songs like Miracles, Only God Could Stop Me Loving You, I See Heaven, Simple Miracles, etc. And more recently, with Countrified, they tried to go with a more traditional country sound, and got pretty much uniformly blasted for it. They do pop country, true, but they do it extremely well

  43. the pistolero
    September 30, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Do you know how boring that would be???

    Yep, and that’s why you’ll find artists like Pantera, Kelly Clarkson and Queensryche on my iPod in addition to Merle Haggard, George Strait and Buck Owens. There’s going to be bias everywhere you look; that’s just the way it works with music, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  44. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 11:39 am

    There’s going to be bias everywhere you look

    While there may be bias everywhere, and without a doubt everyone is entitled to their opinion, i don’t think it’s fair for people to use those biases to evaluate the livlihood of other people. Things like a well written song, a good vocal performance, and production aren’t really matters of opinion, and those are the things songs should be judged on.

    Things like ‘shine, gloss, tight hooks,’ etc, are things that appeal to some, and clearly not others. I don’t think an artist should be blasted for making music that is simply different from what a reviewer is comfortable with

  45. CMW
    September 30, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Things like a well written song, a good vocal performance, and production aren’t really matters of opinion, and those are the things songs should be judged on.

    How are those not matters of opinion? Suppose we could get everyone here to agree on the ten most well-written songs of all time?

  46. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    well, that would be a list that would be impossible to make, but i do think that people can agree on the things that MAKE a song well written, such as relatibility, relevance, not clunky and weighted down, etc. Clearly Fifteen, and Long Black Train are two well written songs, but they’re about two completely different topics. Some people may be more attracted to the religious, insightful lyrics in the latter, but others may be attracted to the easy relatibility of the former. The constant, though, is that they are both well written songs. Compare them to That Thang, or Bob That Head, or songs of that nature. Those songs clearly appeal to people, but they are not well written songs at all. I think that there is a technical aspect to songs that remains pretty much the same, across genres, and across decades. My point is that bashing something for something as non technical, and non objective is unfortunate

  47. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    grrrr…bashing something for something as non technical and non objective as gloss, shine, and ‘contemporary’ is unfortunate. sorry

  48. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Also, to the staff on here, don’t get me wrong. I think you guys do a mostly great job evaluating and presenting country music news to all of us, and i am a definite fan. I just would like to see a more non biased review of contemporary country, that’s all. I’m not trying to bash you guys, or make you out to be morons, because clearly you’re not

  49. PaulaW
    September 30, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Things like a well written song, a good vocal performance, and production aren’t really matters of opinion, and those are the things songs should be judged on.

    Yes, they ARE the things a song should be ‘judged’ on …. AND they ARE matters of opinion.

    ANY review by ANYONE, no matter how knowledgeable or ‘successful’ that person is … is still just that person’s OPINION.

  50. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Paulaw….you’re missing my point. The technical aspects of an album are not really matters of opinion. The article on here about albums getting too loud is a perfect example. It correctly notes a technical aspect of the music that is lacking. Commenting on things like overdone lyrics, stolen melodies, and the like are also objective. However, a lot of reviewers on here are clearly biased against pop leaning country…although oddly alt rock country seems to get a thumbs up…is it just that rock is considered ‘cooler?’ in any case get a reviewer who can objectively review contemporary country, instead of the almost automatic thumbs down

  51. PaulaW
    September 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Paulaw….you’re missing my point. The technical aspects of an album are not really matters of opinion. The article on here about albums getting too loud is a perfect example. It correctly notes a technical aspect of the music that is lacking.

    It is still a matter of opinion. It just happens to be an opinion that several, if not most, of us share.

    Of course, this is just my opinion about opinions. You are certainly free to disagree with it.

    ;-)

  52. PaulaW
    September 30, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Oh – and just for the record – since this thread is supposed to be about Jimmy Wayne’s version of “Sara Smile” …….. I like it.

    No in-depth analysis of why … I just like it.

  53. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Paulaw: so do you think that there are no aspects to music reviewing that can be obective? Not even things like loudness, poorly written lyrics, bad vocals, etc? Not trying to be argumentative here, btw, i just want to understand what you’re saying?

    My point is that everyone has opinions. Everyone can have those opinions. Everyone has different taste. I personally have always liked rascal flatts, have gotten to meet them a couple times, along with jason aldean…although i know saying that on these forums makes me lose all credibility. I do not think that their music deserves all the negativity it gets. True, songs like Bob That Head are just plain odd…but i have never seen a positive review of their music. I don’t think an artist would still be signed, 4 albums later, without ever putting out a good song.

    The bias on the part of the reviewers here is so obvious, and i just want to beg them to try to objectively view music, whether it is in their personal taste or not

  54. Brady Vercher
    September 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    You’ve spun so many circles I don’t know what to respond to, Robert. What is your main complaint?

    At first it seemed to be about our supposed bias against anything contemporary, but since I presented those links, I don’t know what ground you’re standing on.

  55. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Brady:

    I responded to those links, but to sum up my comments, even in the songs that are given a thumbs up, the review has been that the song gets a thumbs up “if you’re willing to look past its gloss and its shine”, then saying “there’s a catchy and fun tune waiting underneath.”

    My point is that, based on reviews like the one above, when you do give positive reviews to contempory country, it’s despite it being contemporary, not because of it. A pop leaning country song immediately gets put in a hole that it must be dug out of by other factors. Why is this? Why the hating of pop country? And why doesn’t it extend towards other forms of country, like rock, or bluegrass, or the like?

  56. Razor X
    September 30, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Why the hating of pop country? And why doesn’t it extend towards other forms of country, like rock, or bluegrass, or the like?

    Are you seriously drawing an equivalency between a bluegrass-leaning song and a pop-leaning one??

  57. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Are you seriously drawing an equivalency between a bluegrass-leaning song and a pop-leaning one??

    well…yes i am. they are both different takes on a music that is made up of many influences to begin with. they’re kind of opposite ends of the country music spectrum…but what happens when you bring even those kinds of music together? does the world implode?? or do you get a good band like nickel creek??

  58. Dan Milliken
    September 30, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Are you seriously drawing an equivalency between a bluegrass-leaning song and a pop-leaning one??

    Now, that question does demonstrate a bias. Not that you write here, I’m just saying!

    But really, I think it’s natural that any country critic would be especially wary of pop influence; by most accounts, such influence has had much more of a hand in the watering-down of country music than, say, rock or R&B or bluegrass has. Of course, “pop” is a nebulous term anyway, but you get my point. I also think it’s key to point out that no one is truly objective, and I really think that’s OK.

  59. Brady Vercher
    September 30, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    When the gloss and the shine are rendered so thick that they overwhelm everything else in the song (as is the case with the Gloriana tune), I’m not sure that that’s not something that shouldn’t be pointed out. And offering one line doesn’t necessarily demonstrate that there is an obvious bias against pop country, while those positive reviews I highlighted demonstrated that there are most likely other factors involved. That’s all aside from the fact that our writers are free to review the music how they see fit, no matter how biased they are, as long as they can explain those biases in a logical manner. As always, feel free to disagree, but using a broad brush to make a specious claim that we don’t afford pop country the same consideration as everything else when writing our reviews just isn’t demonstrable.

    If in the end what you’re telling us is that we should favor pop over actual country influences, then we’re just gonna have to disagree.

  60. Razor X
    September 30, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Are you seriously drawing an equivalency between a bluegrass-leaning song and a pop-leaning one??

    Now, that question does demonstrate a bias. Not that you write here, I’m just saying!

    Bluegrass is not a completely separate genre from country as rock, R&B and pop are. Therefore, it is perfectly natural for some country songs to have a bluegrass flavor, and that does not water down the “countriness” of the song the way pop influences do. Even if the bluegrass elements completely overwhelm the song, it will still be a country song.

  61. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Brady:

    No, i’m not telling you that you should favor anything over anything, because that would be biased too. I also noted that you liked Jason Aldean’s tune because it was his “most country sounding one yet”

    I don’t think that it is just that one line that demonstrates this though. The fact that a multitude of reviews have negatively given thumbs down to every Rascal Flatts tune seems to point to a bias too. I could understand if you were talking about Fast Ryde or something, but Rascal Flatts have put out some genuinely good songs.

    I think that, given the above examples, it is demonstratable that pop country isn’t given any consideration, with few exceptions.

    It is just too bad, because you guys run a great site, write some great articles, and i have turned a lot of my friends onto your site. I simply think that artists who put out an Emerson Drive/Rascal Flatts/Jimmy Wayne type song deserve a fair shot at getting a good review, which clearly they won’t, from the outset.

  62. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Razor X:

    If rock, R&B, and that type of music got its roots from an early form of country music, isn’t it fair to say that country can just as easily show rock tendencies as bluegrass tendencies, since both are based off country itself?

  63. Razor X
    September 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Yes, there are some rock elements in some country songs. No one’s disputing that. In fact, you’ve just answered your own question about why there aren’t the same objections to rock-leaning country as there is to pop-leaning country. Pop music is not roots-based music.

  64. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    No, pop isn’t a direct descendant of country. But that does nothing to explain the hatred towards it. If anything, it has done the genre a favor as a whole, by attracting a whole new audience to it. While there are certain lines you don’t cross (fast ryde, that rapping guy whose name slips my mind) artists like Jimmy Wayne, Kenny Chesney, and Rascal Flatts certainly aren’t defaming or insulting to country music. Paper Angels is a beautifully written example of a country song. So is there goes my life, or don’t blink, by Chesney, which was inexplicably blasted on this site. The list goes on, but the point remains.

    Country can include other influences, and still remain true to its roots. There is no reason to throw a song to the curb because it is by a certain artist, or labled as a certain genre.

  65. Leeann Ward
    September 30, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    I simply think that artists who put out an Emerson Drive/Rascal Flatts/Jimmy Wayne type song deserve a fair shot at getting a good review, which clearly they won’t, from the outset.

    And for that, I am grateful. That’s why I read a site like this rather than some other sites that are out there. Like others have already said, a certain amount of bias naturally comes with the territory of reviews, which is both necessary for one review to stand out from another and perfectly fine with me. As long as the bias, as Brady said, can be supported somehow, it’s just the way it is.

  66. Leeann Ward
    September 30, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I can honestly say that I rarely visit certain cites who show no discernment. Without seeing the bias of specific reviewers, I’d have no way of knowing if their tastes/biases matched mine, therefore, no way of knowing if I can trust their judgment enough to take a chance on an album or artist.

  67. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    And for that, I am grateful. That’s why I read a site like this rather than some other sites that are out there.

    Well, i guess it is a good thing you are not one of the aforementioned artists, because, if you were, i do not think you would appreciate someone whose only job is to critique yours entering into their review with a negative attitude from the beginning!

  68. PaulaW
    September 30, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Even if the bluegrass elements completely overwhelm the song, it will still be a country song.

    Not to my ears!

  69. Maxwell P.
    September 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Whenever you decide to release a single, let me know, and I’ll critique it.

  70. Maxwell K
    September 30, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I think this is an excellent cover. An odd choice for country radio, no doubt, but Wayne’s voice is absolutely impeccable on this track.

    This is a perfect example of how a song fits into a genre is absolutely no criterion on which to judge it as a well-done song. Whether it’s country or not is simply irrelevant.

  71. Razor X
    September 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    No, pop isn’t a direct descendant of country. But that does nothing to explain the hatred towards it. If anything, it has done the genre a favor as a whole, by attracting a whole new audience to it.

    It’s attracted a whole new audience that demands more pop music. That isn’t necessarily helpful to the genre at all.

    Even if the bluegrass elements completely overwhelm the song, it will still be a country song.

    Not to my ears!

    So bluegrass is not country??

  72. PaulaW
    September 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Razor I’m not gonna take the bait on “what is and is not country”.

    I dont care for bluegrass. Maybe a song or two now and then. I do like (what I call) “country”. I even like some “country” that is tinged with “pop” or “rock” or “blues” or yes, even a tinge or two of “bluegrass” occasionally.

    I also like some songs that are not “country” at all.

    I like some “rock” and some “pop” and some “classic country” and some “new country”. I even like some “disco”.

    And I also DONT like songs in ALL of those categories. I try not to catagorize music. I just listen to it and if I like it I listen to it some more. If I dont like it I dont listen to it any more.

    And if I really really really like it, I buy it so I can listen to it all the time.

    I’m sorry if this is not a technical or difinitive enough of a description for you (that’s a ‘collective’ you, not just RazorX) of what I like and dont like, or think is or is not “country”, but it’s gonna have to suffice.

    The End. (Of the description and the discussion).

  73. Robert
    September 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Razor:

    i don’t necessarily disagree that adding other influences into music makes some people want more of it, leading to bands like fast ryde or whatever, but that does not mean that the practice should be stopped. Some of the artists that really helped bring country back on the map did it by blending lots of influences, many of them pop. Look at Restless Heart, Ronnie Milsap, Alabama, Conway Twittie (to a degree). They all helped make country music what it is today, and todays artists owe them a great deal of gratitude. Artists that are just fake imitations of country will come and go, but truly good country acts, like those previously mentioned, and today, artists like Kenny, Tim, Garth, will last. The Jimmy Waynes, Emerson Drives, Little Big Towns, etc may not get the credit they are due, but they are still serious contributors to music, and deserve recognition for that.

  74. Dan Milliken
    September 30, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    “I think this is an excellent cover. An odd choice for country radio, no doubt, but Wayne’s voice is absolutely impeccable on this track.

    This is a perfect example of how a song fits into a genre is absolutely no criterion on which to judge it as a well-done song. Whether it’s country or not is simply irrelevant.”

    Fair enough. But one thing I’ve always liked about The 9513’s thumbs up/thumbs down system is that it’s able to incorporate not just song quality, but context. I remember Dolly Parton getting a thumbs-down for “Shinola” not because it’s a bad song (it’s not), but because it was such a bizarre, badly thought out single release. It did nothing to improve the country radio format, because it didn’t even make sense for it because of its datedness. That was the argument, at least. And there are probably even better examples of the concept than that.

    So yeah, I don’t think a single can rise and fall completely on its own merits here, or the entire system ceases to make sense. If Rascal Flatts decides tomorrow (heaven forbid) to release a “country” cover of a Metallica song that still sounds exactly like Metallica’s version – and that happens to be very good as a metal recording – should it be given a thumbs-up from a country blog just because it happens to be a good metal recording? I say no, because it would just make zero sense. “Sara Smile” isn’t quite as jarring an idea, but it’s really the same principle in play. At some point, you have to draw the line.

  75. David Allen
    October 3, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Try to have any other country artist sing this song and bet they can’t sing it as well as Jimmy Wayne can. It’s not country but not everyone likes traditional country songs all the time. Jimmy does have a very good voice and his first album was very good, his second album not as good. He needs to get back to doing more personal songs from the heart like on his first album. Get your head out of the sand everyone.

  76. Maxwell K
    October 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Good point Dan. That’s one purpose of a genre-specific blog like this one that I hadn’t previously considered, but I guess there is something to be said for “furthering” a genre.

    I don’t think it should have such an overwhelming impact on the final rating, though. I’d have taken much less notice if the “this isn’t country” factor were just mentioned in the review and the song had been judged as just a song. It seems that the genre issue was the only offense found by the reviewer.

  77. Anne
    November 3, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    I’m going to take offense at the comment that Jimmy Wayne ONLY has teeny bopper fanbase – I’m a 42 year old fan who has seen Jimmy Wayne several times in concert as well as ‘out and about’ when he was traveling between shows.

    EVERY single time he has been gracious and absolutely a gentleman – posing for photos, inviting us to sit with him and his group for lunch, and he’s just a normal guy who happens to be a very talented performer. He is the most fun and ‘normal’ when asked about anything OTHER than his ‘job’.

    He truly cares about his fans, like most country artists do. How many “non country” artists do that?!?! Not many, not many at all. VERY few will even allow a camera at their concerts – country artists not only allow it, they pose for pics DURING their shows, take cameras from fans to get pics.

    Go ahead and knock country artists all you want, but you’ll rarely find any other group of artists who truly appreciate their fans.

  78. Nicolas
    November 3, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    ^ That’s not entirely true, Kenny Chesney for example doesn’t allow cameras. There was a news story where he grabbed a camera and threw it across the stage.

    Additionally, I saw Sara Evans in concert, and no photography was permitted at the venue

  79. Bob
    November 3, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    I liked Jimmy’s version of Sara Smile and the original which I saw Hall & Oates perform on their recently televised Live at the Troubador show.

    Reading the reviews can be enjoyable but when it comes down to buying or not buying a song or cd, the critical comments do not affect my decision. A good review of a singer I’m not familiar with will usually get me to check out that artist.

    I agree with a lot of the comments by PAULAW which are in tune with a quote from a letter written by the great Russian playwright and short story writer Anton Chekov in 1890. “When people talk to me of what is artistic and inartistic, of what is dramatic and not dramatic, of tendency, realism, and so on, I am bewildered, hesitatingly assent, and answer with banal half-truths not worth a brass farthing. I DIVIDE ALL WORKS INTO TWO CLASSES: THOSE I LIKE AND THOSE I DON’T. I have no other criterion, and if you ask me why I like Hal Ketchum and don’t like George Strait, I don’t venture to answer.” (actually, it was Shakespeare and Zlatovratsky in the quots.)

    I realize that that if reviewers limited their comments to I like it or don’t, few would read their columns. My guess is that most fans whether of music, plays, books, etc. would agree with Chekhov.

  80. Mary
    November 4, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Message Boards are pointless….because ignorance runs rampant!!!

  81. Mary
    November 4, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    The song rocks!

  82. chelle-belle
    November 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Hello–and to all the JW FANS-I am not a total country music lovin’ girl from Nashville–but this song has a sexy-slow wanna dance with someone vibe to it and I am a huge-huge H&O FAN! I am thrilled that JW asked the orig’s to sing with him on this song! They may only be the back ups–but heck–they are great and it helps with the direction of the song that JW LOVES TO SING!

  83. Vero
    November 18, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I like Jimmy Wayne’s music. He got a great voice, and a huge heart. I agree, that this is not a country song.But he made this song because HE likes H&O, is the music that inspiored him when he was young.
    Definately shouldn’t be played in a country music radio station.

  84. Kevin
    January 4, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Jimmy Wayne’s song “Do You Believe Me Now” is amazing! One of my favorites of all time!

    I’m not trying to poke anyone in the eye here but I think you’d all would be a bit kinder if you had ever experience the vulnerability of having to get up in front of a crowd with just a guitar and sing. That takes a lot more guts than it does to anonymously defame a guy that’s just trying to do his thing.

  85. Quidditchgirl007
    March 18, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    i actually happen to LOVE this song. He does a GREAT job of it too. it he had remade it to sound different, u’d all be complaining more about it cause he ruined the original or something.

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