Wayne Watson was born on October 5, 1954 in Wisner, Louisiana. His first album was 1980’s WORKIN’ IN THE FINAL HOUR. Among his Dove Award wins was one for ‘Male Vocalist of the Year’ in 1989. He’s twice been nominated for a Grammy Award. Some of his best known songs are: ‘Friend of a Wounded Heart’, ‘When God’s People Pray’, ‘Watercolour Ponies’, and ‘Another Time, Another Place’. The latter is a duet he sang with Sandi Patty on ‘The Tonight Show’ in the 1990’s. In 2000 Watson released a self-titled album via Word/Epic. It was produced by Michael Omartian and Jerry McPherson. In the liner notes, Wayne writes: “I think this is a better project because we let life get in the way of the songwriting. My prayer is that it will be timely for all who hear”.
‘More than a little Unusual’ is an upbeat pop song featuring Michael Omartian on piano and Phil Madeira on the Hammond B-3. It starts with these words of encouragement: “Everybody’s picking on you, you’re not like everybody else/Even when the big bad world backs off just a little/You’re still pretty hard on yourself/Feel like you just don’t fit in/But your faith, your conviction is strong/And just because you march to the beat of a different drummer/Hey, that doesn’t mean that you’re wrong”. ‘Merciful Heaven’ is an adult contemporary ballad requesting forgiveness: “Merciful Heaven, have mercy on me/Seven times seven, I’ve always believed/You’ve got the power and I have the need/Merciful Heaven, have mercy on me”. Chris Rodriguez, Gene Miller, and Michael Mellett provide backing vocals on the optimistic pop song ‘Finest Hour’ which includes these words: “What a moment this is/It is good to be alive/There is still time for changing the world/I believe it can happen/God has given us life/He has given us breath/And the sun is not set/We are not finished yet/And I tell you there must be a reason.../This could be your finest hour/This could be your place in time/This could be your defining moment/Get ready to shine (2X)”.
‘Trust in You’ has refreshingly vulnerable lyrics: “I don’t trust my eyes anymore/They’re easily deceived/Too often led astray by things that cannot be believed/Smoke and mirrors, slight of hand/Make a mockery of the truth/I don’t trust my eyes anymore/But God, I still trust You”. ‘The Blood of Jesus’ is a beautiful worship anthem: “It was the blood of Jesus/The blood of Jesus/That opened heaven’s door to let me in/It was the blood of Jesus, the blood of Jesus/That washed away the guilt/That washed away the guilt of all my sin”. One of the backing vocalists is Melinda Doolittle. She finished third on Season 6 of ‘American Idol’.
Bernie Herms plays the Wurlitzer and Michael Omartian the accordion on ‘One of these Days’. This song speaks of the emotional toll of living on this fallen planet: “One of these days I’m gonna break down and cry/For the world full of sorrow and sin/One of these days I’m gonna break down and cry/But for now I’m gonna hold it in.../Don’t let my heart grow so cold/So hard against the plot of my enemy/That I can’t feel the suffering/And I can’t see the pain of hearts that ache/For Jesus’ sake”. ‘Everything Can Change So Fast’ is a nice light pop song that uses horns. It talks of spiritual transformation: “Jesus said it just takes a simple faith/To wash a lifetime of guilt and sin away/And a heart that is weeping will be dancing for joy/Yeah, the minute you trust Him/The minute you pray/I tell you/Everything can change so fast (2X)/In the blink of an eye/Your sin’s a thing of the past/Everything can change so fast”.
‘The Ones Left Standing’ is an inspirational number about grief: “The peace of God will abide in the season of our sorrow/In the valley of a pain we can’t describe/In the palm of His hand is a shelter from the madness/We can never really understand/Cause the ones left standing have to cry all the tears/And replay all the memories/The good and the bad from the years.../And in eternity when all the mysteries are gone/It will be clear that it was our God keeping us strong”. An upbeat gospel number called ‘Pray’ celebrates a spiritual discipline: “This is not some last resort, some act of desperation/A string to pull when your hope has just faded away/I believe that the humble, righteous prayer/It can heal a broken nation/I believe a faithful God will hear us and provide a way/Yeah, bring Him all of your worry, all your despair/All your tears, anytime, anywhere/You can pray!”
Scott Dente from Out of the Grey plays acoustic guitar on ‘The Wrong Stuff’. It deals with spiritual warfare: “How did you get so far from holiness?/How did you get so far from true?/This road will lead you to destruction/You’re not dreaming up something new.../The soul’s at war with principalities, the evil and the good, oh/And the one that tends to get the victory/The stronger part of you and me/Will be the side you give attention to/The nature that you feed, oh”. Sam Levine plays penny whistle on the very personal ballad ‘Turning into Dad’. These are some of the words: “I cannot explain it, but I just knew it in my heart/That my hero had breathed his last and said goodbye/We are flesh and we are spirit/It’s appointed to us once to really live and once to die.../Of all the things that I could still become/I could do a whole lot worse/Than turning into Dad”.
WAYNE WATSON is a light Christian pop album with a heavy influence of adult contemporary music. The slow, worshipful, and reflective songs far outweigh the faster paced ones. There is not really one central unifying theme on the album besides God and His involvement in our lives. Some of the topics addressed are: forgiveness, prayer, reaching the lost, worldliness, and trusting God. Wayne’s maturity really comes through in his lyrics and vocals. Fans of the more laid back material of Michael W. Smith, Morgan Cryar, and Steve Camp should acquire this album. These are songs born out of a long personal relationship with God. I’m rating WAYNE WATSON 92%. For more info visit: www.waynewatson.com.