Waylon Payne performs eight original songs and a cover of “Help Me Make It Through the Night” during this intimate program, recorded August 8, 2018, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. He also speaks about how friends including Frank Liddell, Shelby Lynne, and Willie Nelson helped him along the way.
Payne—the son of guitarist Jody Payne and country singer Sammi Smith, whose signature hit was the Kris Kristofferson-penned “Help Me Make It Through the Night”—selects five songs from his 2003 album, “The Drifter,” and offers “After the Storm,” as a preview to a then-upcoming project. He also reveals the surprising back story of “Solitary Thinkin,’” written after spending time in Los Angeles. Lee Ann Womack charted with her version of the song in 2009.
Payne recalls how friends rallied around him when he had a drug problem, which he says nearly killed him two or three times. Asked how he decides whether to write for himself or others, he observes, “Mostly when I sit down by myself, I go dark places. And my life’s been pretty dark at times. My songwriting, for me, is like therapy. I say things more easily in the valleys and the peaks of a melody than I do if I were just to open my mouth and talk like this to all y’all.”
Near the end of the program, he shares his memory of buying his beloved guitar, which he has named “Thomas.”
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