Wayne Watson was born on October 5, 1954. He released his debut album WORKIN’ IN THE FINAL HOUR in 1980. He has had an impressive 23 #1 singles on Christian radio. In addition he has won 12 Dove Awards and has had a couple of Grammy nominations. In 2011 he was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame. His bio says: “To say his vocal stylings and lyrics of open, honest communication of God’s presence in everyday life circumstances helped lay the foundation on which today’s contemporary Christian music is built would in no way be an overstatement”. In 2002 Wayne released LIVING ROOM (Spring Hill Music Group). It was produced by his oldest son Neal and executive produced by Wayne and Phil Johnson.
‘Grace’ is a mellow, modern adult contemporary song that finds Wayne thinking out loud: “Unworthy on my best day/Unworthy at my worst/To receive this blessing that You give me freely/Grace keeps giving me things I don’t deserve/Mercy keeps withholding things I do/Words that seldom fail me/Leave me looking for the words/To express my gratitude”. Wayne’s youngest son Adam co-wrote the beautiful adult contemporary song ‘Cry of my Heart’ with him. Wayne, Adam, and Christy Nockels are on backing vocals. This song finds Wayne sure of his purpose: “You have trusted me with this message/For the nations of the world/Set a fire in me and keep it burning/So the people know, ‘til everyone has heard/It’s the cry of my heart to follow You/It’s the cry of my heart/I feel it deep in my soul/I want to lose control/It’s the cry of my heart to follow You”.
Gary Burnette plays great electric guitar on ‘Somebody Sing’, a happy rock and roll song of celebration: “Every day there’s something to be thankful for/There’s a reason to be glad/You are not alone/And here’s something else/Jesus lived and died and He rose again/To overcome death and hell/Somebody sing, everybody breathe Him in/Somebody sing, everybody say ‘Amen’”. ‘Glorify Your Name’ uses a six person choir that includes Michael Mellet, Lisa Bevill, and Nirva Dorsaint. It is a reverent praise and worship song: “Almighty God, how majestic is Your Name/Every knee will bow and every tongue will praise and/Glorify, glorify Your Name/We will glorify, glorify Your Name/And together the redeemed, all forgiven will proclaim/’We will glorify, glorify Your Name’”.
‘The Promise’ is a light pop song on the topic of marriage. Unfortunately years after this album came out Wayne and Lynn divorced. Here are some of the words to the song: “And in the end may it be said of us/And of this love we share/We were tried and true/And we danced to the song of our Maker/That is my desire, this is my prayer/Chances are we won’t cross the finish line together/I want to love you so you’ll miss me if I’m gone/And this flame will leave a smile upon your face/And love you so you can’t recall the valleys for the mountains/That grace will overwhelm any tears/That cannot be undone by time and space”. ‘Something’s Gonna Humble You’ brings the funk musically and warns against pride: “What are you countin’ on to never, never leave you/Never betray you, never deceive you?/Stocks and bonds, fast cars and land/Perfect kids, a big ‘ole house/All this vanity, man/Well, God will not be mocked, make no mistake/You better humble yourself before it’s too late/He might just tap you on the shoulder, drop a pebble on your head/Or drop a boulder in your path to stop you in your tracks cold”.
‘Long Way From the Manger’ is a spiritual check-up: “Is this progress that we’re making/Or should we maybe be ashamed?/Not an easy question and the answers disappear/Behind these mountains of pride/If anything we’re doing breaks Your heart or brings You tears/Before I wander any further, give me eyes to see it clear/We’re a long way from the manger/From the pure, from the simple Divine/Long way from the innocence of a Stranger/Is this what You had in mind?” ‘Dreaming Again’ is a ballad that uses the sound of chimes and includes backing vocals by Christy Nockels. This song reminds us that we can’t change the past and should look forward to what God has in store for us now: “What is past is past/What is done is over/I will not go back and relive what’s best forgotten/I can’t say why/Why healing is so painful/Or why it takes so long for old memories to fade/I’m dreaming again, believing again/That God will use me is the prayer of my heart/I’m here for the taking, this is only the start/I’m dreaming again”.
‘Climb on Up’ contains a catchy chorus of encouragement: “Come on, climb on up here with me/You can do it, yes you can/Come on, climb on up here with me/Higher ground, promised land”. ‘Steal Me Away’ is a co-write with Adam Watson. It ends the album on a prayerful note: “Steal me away, steal me away/From the devils and the dealers/That never satisfy me/Steal me away, steal me away/And wrap me in Your arms where nothing else can ever steal me away”.
LIVING ROOM showcases Wayne Watson’s trademark smooth, warm vocals. Wayne also plays acoustic guitar and piano on the album. This is a mighty fine adult contemporary album that I recommend to fans of Matthew West, Chris Tomlin, and Bebo Norman. Wayne’s two sons help him achieve a relevant, contemporary, reflective sound here, that could be described as devotional and laid back. I’m rating LIVING ROOM 90%. My copy comes with a second disc of bonus material that collectors will appreciate. For more info visit: www.waynewatson.com.