5 stars *****
Do You Believe Me Now Bottom Line: Jimmy Wayne is back with a great new album. He has a solid song delivery and his music is based on the realities of the relationships of today. He sings about real life and he puts a positive spin on it. This CD is a terrific kick off with his new record label. I'm looking forward to many more projects from Jimmy Wayne. -- About.com
His first album in five years, Jimmy Wayne shows the energy of a new artist, the hunger of a career relaunching and the ear of a veteran. And that combination is why "Do You Believe Me Now" is one of the best albums of the year in all genres. Opening with the title track - currently a Billboard top five - Wayne's passionate vocals are stunningly intermingled with a breathtaking arrangement. Produced by Mark Bright, Joe West and Dave Pahanish, the trio enhanced Wayne's already versatile voice with picture-perfect production throughout, from dashing guitar riffs to a caressing fiddle and dramatic piano. Mostly mid- and uptempo songs, including five new songs Wayne wrote himself, he runs the gamut of emotions - determined to find success in "I Didn't Come Here To Lose," a giving lover in "I'll Be That" and a man trying to understand a failed relationship in the powerful, romantic duet "No Good For Me" with the legendary Patty Loveless. Wayne's personal triumph from a difficult childhood to stardom is well documented, but telling his story in "Where You're Going" and "Kerosene Kid," the power in his voice and emotion of the situation could only be captured by someone who lived through the detention centers, trailer houses and laughter of schoolmates. Wayne makes you feel exactly what he felt then and now. As a bonus, Wayne re-recorded hits "Stay Gone" and "I Love You This Much." "Do You Believe Me Now" is one of the most powerful albums recorded in years. With passionate vocals, perfect arrangements and incredibly lyrics, an album of this genius was worth the wait. -- Carrie Pitzer, Norfolk Daily News
This talented singer/ songwriter's self-titled 2003 debut disc spawned four hit singles before DreamWorks Nashville shuttered, stalling his momentum, but this project is the perfect vehicle to reintroduce an amazing young artist. The bulk of the album comprises such uptempo fare as the buoyant "Brighter Days," "I'll Be That" and "I Didn't Come Here to Lose." Among the highlights are "No Good for Me," a gorgeous duet with Patty Loveless, and "Kerosene Kid," an autobiographical song about his impoverished childhood. That theme of hope triumphing over adversity continues on "Where You're Going," another powerful cut that finds the songwriter drawing on his tumultuous past. "Believe" also includes "Stay Gone" and "I Love You This Much," two hits from his debut project. Wayne is a compelling songwriter and truly gifted vocalist, and this album heralds the arrival of the country format's next major star. --Deborah Evans Price -- Deborah Evans Price, Billboard
3 stars Comeback country
Wayne, who sings like country's answer to Daryl Hall, currently enjoys his first hit in three years with this album's title track, a massive ballad that puts an appealing spin on self-pity. His fallow years have made him eager to please, if a touch insecure, or maybe that's a result of a brutal childhood. Wayne doesn't shy from singing about his raising, and he turns those stories into motivational messages. Those lessons likely are the same ones that helped bring him back from the brink of obscurity, and, if this album's any indication, we haven't heard the last of him. -- Brian Mansfield, USA Today
Belief. There were times in the last few years where that's all that Jimmy Wayne seemingly had. Belief in himself, his music and the firm belief that people can and will relate to the songs that he's written. After scoring a moderately successful self-titled debut record (which saw two singles go Top 10) with DreamWorks Records, Jimmy Wayne had a rough period of where his label closed and then, after signing with Big Machine Records, Jimmy saw a couple of singles fail to do too much at radio. When his label opened up a sister label, The Valory Music Company, Jimmy was transferred to that label as one of the flagship artists along with Jewel. Jimmy then released the single "Do You Believe Me Now" and, despite a non-traditional melody, the song became a huge hit.
Now with a hit song (Jimmy's third Top 10 hit), Wayne has presented the world with his sophomore album, also called "Do You Believe Me Now." The album is far from traditional country arrangements but if anyone has listened to Jimmy's first record they'd know that he's a pop/country artist. Meaning many of the melodic arrangements are `pop' while his lyrics are country. It is those lyrics that drive the album, from the declarations of love on the Rory Feek (of Joey+Rory) and Dave Pahanish-penned "I Will" and "I'll Be That To You" (one of three tracks produced by Mark Bright) to the more personal songs ripped directly from Jimmy Wayne's life: "Kerosene Kid," "Where You're Going" and "I Didn't Come Here To Lose."
Songwriters Joe West and Dave Pahanish co-produced the other nine tracks on the album and they really do seem to enhance Jimmy's pop-sensibility. "Brighter Day" is a song that actually sounds like it could've been from one of Kenny Chensey's albums with a sunny, beach-y optimism in the lyric being backed by a similar melody while "Kerosene Kid" has distorted guitars and an 80's rock vibe but it actually suits the lyrics and mood of the song. Prior to the albums release there was some publicity about Patty Loveless joining Jimmy in the studio for the ballad "No Good For Me." A true duet, the pair actually has remarkable chemistry and their voices blend together nicely. The song actually uses an addict/drug analogy for co-dependency. It's a heart wrenching lyric sung by two strong vocalists.
Lori McKenna and Liz Rose co-wrote the ballad "True Believer" and in true Lori McKenna fashion, the song has a strong, reality-based lyric about being someone who holds to the hope of true love. While Jimmy didn't write "I Didn't Come Here to Lose" (Jason Sellers, Wendell Mobley and Neil Thrasher did) he has certainly lived the lyric about believing in yourself and your ability enough to stand up and fight for your opportunity to `make it' in your chosen career. The hook of the chorus is strong and immediate, something that's also present in the autobiographical "Where You're Going," a song that has become Jimmy Wayne's personal motto: It's not where you've been, It's Where You're Going."
The album closes out with re-recorded versions of Jimmy's biggest hits "Stay Gone" and "I Love You This Much." With the release of "Do You Believe Me Now" Jimmy Wayne has gotten through the tough times and come out of it with a batch of strong country/pop songs that showcase a truly gifted and honest performer. The melodies may not be arranged in the way of a Hank Williams song or even a George Strait song but that's part of the appeal of the album. It's a modern country album for modern country tastes. -- Roughstock.com
Hard luck livin' and lovin' are the central themes of Jimmy Wayne's second CD, Do You Believe Me Now. It is filled with autobiographical accounts of Jimmy's tumultuous childhood and how he's channeled them into something good. You don't have to let other people's perception of you determine your worth; heck, empathy is the cornerstone of Country Music. Jimmy has made a livin' out of proving people wrong, which is the central theme of the record's title song. Do You Believe Me Now, goes to show that sometimes being right you still end up losing. The song's heartfelt heartache follows suspicion into certainty stemming from a moment of weakness in a relationship. Having a hunch about someone isn't always good. This song musically has a larger feel compared to some of Jimmy's more intimate melodies on this release. It's catchy and prime for Rock radio as well as New Country. First impressions can crystallize a moment, but nothing is ever set in stone, for example the song Kerosene Kid is another sonic gem in this diamond mine of songs.
"Kerosene kid, don't let 'em get you down
Just hold your head up and be proud
Kerosene kid, they don't understand
Everything that we got is a gift" We all know that kid; the one wearing yesterday's clothes and smelling of Kerosene. Those who know the hardship of growing up poor, and not having consistent heat in their house or trailer, can really identify with this song. It's a profound sensory moment that takes me back to my own hometown where oil refineries belched fumes into the sky. This song's melody is steeped in rocket fuel; blazing forth with rock guitar riffs and a driving rhythm section that is relentless. One of the best songs on the record states it's not where you've been but, Where You're Going. This is the most revealing part of Jimmy's past. At 15, Jimmy was locked up in a juvenile detention center for being a runaway. Years later he visited the same place; this time as a criminal justice student with the local community college. The same guard that had checked him in so many years ago, still referring to the detainees as trash, was still working at the facility while Jimmy had moved on to make a better life. I Didn't Come Here To Lose and Brighter Days, both inspire the listener to just hold on in difficult situations. Some of the best guitar work on the album is contained in these two tracks. There is beauty and determination in the contagious musical arrangements. The melodies stay with you like a good friend giving you encouragement with lyrics like, 'Is that all you got, bring it' and 'Cuz sooner or later the clouds gonna break.' (lyrics to both songs respectively) Jimmy is the kind of guy that will stand by you and give you a second chance. Though this is his second CD, it's really another shot to experience Jimmy Wayne for the first time. Stay Gone and I Love You This Much; both timeless classics from his first self-titled release are included on this record. A dark past has made him the man he is today, but because of the lessons he's learned along the way, he has a brighter future. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." Jimmy's determination and perseverance have forged the piece of coal he was given in life into a precious stone that captures the light for all to see, and hear. -- Unrated Magazine, February 2, 2009
Jimmy Wayne's turbulent childhood as a foster child and teen delinquent, and his personal journal writings, fueled many of the songs on his self-titled debut, painting him as a survivor and poet with a strapping, emotional voice and a penchant for vulnerable story songs. He brings more of these dramatic tales to his soulful sophomore effort (and first on the new label).
In Kerosene Kid, Wayne reminisces about facing his classmates' jeers each winter, as he smelled of the kerosene he used to heat his family's home. The standout, Where You're Going, is the story of Wayne's own encounter with a former detention center guard who had mocked him as a teen. The song's premise is "It's not where you've been/it's where you're going."
Like his first outing, themes of faith and optimism also weave throughout. Ballads like the soaring I Will, (by Dave Pahanish and "Can You Duet" winner Rory Lee Feek) and the romantic One on One are heartfelt, while the stunning True Believer holds onto the idea of ideal love, even in the wake of a painful breakup. I Didn't Come Here to Lose, the story of Wayne's own setbacks and frustrations in his musical career, is an upbeat encouragement to simply not give up.
While Wayne's voice treads more closely to pop than stone-cold country, it lends a unique rawness and intensity to every track (case in point, his current hit single and title track). It doesn't hurt that he knows his way around a great lyric as well. -- Jessica Phillips, Countrystandardtime.com
You may not have heard of Jimmy Wayne, but when you do, you won't believe your ears. After becoming hopelessly addicted to the title track "Do You Believe Me Now" I decided to purchase the album posthaste. Though it's not your typical twangy country, the sound is different and refreshing, and did not disappoint. "Do You Believe Me Now" is the follow-up to Wayne's 2003 self-titled debut. In the subsequent time period, his tunes "Stay Gone" and "I Love You This Much" may have slipped your mind, but were quite popular back in the day. After falling victim to the collapse of his old record label, Dreamworks, Wayne is back with a vengeance. His songs fall in the inspirational vein (think "Small" by Carrie Underwood) and I'd be surprised if he doesn't secure some business from that crowd. His lyrics are dark horse rooting, come-from-behind messages well-executed by Wayne's controlled and confident vocals. Fans of this artist will appreciate his tenacity when they listen to his sophomore album, and so too will newcomers to his club. He's got a mellow sound, perhaps comparable to Phil Vassar or Colin Raye. His voice doesn't scream honky-tonk, a quality that will play well with listeners regardless of their country affiliation or lack thereof, should he enjoy exposure outside the country music realm. Besides "Do You Believe Me Now" other notable tracks include "I Will", a powerful devotional piece, and "I Didn't Come Here to Lose." You definitely get the feeling that this guy's gotten a lot of doors slammed in his face, and that's too bad. He's quality, and you can expect good things to come from Wayne in the future. And bonus - if you do decide to pick up "Do You Believe Me Now" you'll also get "Stay Gone" and "I Love You This Much" off his first album. -- CountryMusicGoodness.com