During a 2021 interview and performance, singer-songwriter Waylon Payne discusses the road to sobriety that led to his critically acclaimed 2020 album, "Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me," and performs five of its songs live.
The son of country musicians Sammi Smith (who sang the Grammy-winning version of Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night") and Jody Payne (a sought-after guitarist), Waylon Payne grew up immersed in music and around songwriting greats including Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Mickey Newbury, Billie Joe Shaver, and Hank Cochran. During his Songwriter Session with the Museum, Payne recounts growing up in the shadow of legends, and reflects on the difficult childhood memories he had to face after navigating years of addiction and achieving hard-won sobriety.
"Getting off drugs is healthy for you, but nobody tells you the rest of it," Payne tells the Museum’s Peter Cooper. "Wait until you're about six months in, and you realize what happened to you when you were four."
Payne has written songs for Lee Ann Womack, Miranda Lambert, and Ashley Monroe, among others, and released his own debut album, "The Drifter," in 2004. "Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me," coming sixteen years later, shows Payne finding a personal, vulnerable voice that earned broad critical acclaim, NPR listing it at #10 on its list of the "Best Albums of 2020," and the "Nashville Scene" dubbing "Blue Eyes” 2020’s "Best Country Album" in the annual "Best of Nashville" issue.
Among the album cuts Waylon Payne performs during his 2021 Songwriter Session are: "Old Blue Eyes," inspired by his former drug dealer; "Dangerous Criminal," a reminder of his own self-destructiveness; and "Precious Thing," his love song to life itself.
Explore our public programming: https://countrymusichalloffame.org/plan-your-visit/exhibits-activities/public-programs/
FOLLOW THE MUSEUM