In August 2019, Wayne was named as "One to Watch" by the Nashville Songwriters Association, for "The Ring", title song from his third album, slated for October 2019 release. Listing here: https://www.nashvillesongwriters.com/ears-august-2019
Review of the new album, "The Ring"
In “The Ring”, his third album since coming out of musical retirement, Wayne lifts his writing, arranging, and recording skills to a higher, more masterful level. This confident album features an unprecedented variety of instruments, including some particularly smooth steel guitar. The arrangements are excellent and appropriate for every song. This is a bigger and more full featured sound than before, more developed and sophisticated, yet still based on his clear tenor vocals and intricate guitar playing artistry.
Wayne weaves many clever turns of phrase into the stories running through his songs. Every tune is unique, from the smoky, sultry soul of "Jennifer" to the sweet, poignant, and straight from the heart "Human". I particularly like the haunting and atmospheric strains of "Almost December". Wayne covers many styles here, but his songs always come back to relationships and what it means to be "Human".
From a fan:
The thing about your CD's love songs is that there is optimism without foolishness, heartbreak without anger. Knowing that this is you is so admirable. "I can still recall when I heard about Eliza. It's nobody's fault, these things happen time to time." Content-wise, that's up there with "Children of a Lesser God."'
Review of January 10, 2019 house concert:
We were fortunate to host a house concert featuring Mr. Wayne Willingham. Wow! What a performance! Wayne is a FANTASTIC singer-songwriter and performer, blending humor in with his stories. I don't know where he finds the energy, but he drove a long way to get here and sang for nearly 2 hours with a very short break in between sets. Wayne is down-to-earth, easy-going and charming. Communication prior to concert was super easy. He is also a courteous house guest! We would welcome him back with open arms anytime. I highly recommend you get to one of his shows, if you can't get to a show, create one! If you can't do that, buy his CDs.
CommuniTea House Concerts Glen Burney, MD
Review of November 2, 2018 performance:
Ft. Worth based singer-songwriter Wayne Willingham came through Virginia a week ago and made his debut at 3rd Street Coffeehouse. We all know that the bar is set pretty high for songwriters in or from Texas, with a long tradition of greats like Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson and so many others. Getting measured against guys like that could be kinda tough, but I’m happy to say that Wayne delivered on the promise of stories, songs and emotions in a big-time Texas way.
Right from the beginning of his set, Wayne drew the full house crowd in with his larger than life spirit and old friends’ approach to performing. It was Wayne’s house and crowd all night as he connected with heartfelt stories and songs of loves, battles and causes won and lost. His vocals were right on target and his guitar playing the perfect accompaniment – elegant and clean, obviously the product of decades of playing. Between the songs, he had a few snarky laugh lines that clearly connected well, getting everyone chuckling and nodding in agreement. His wry and wise observations about life and its ups and downs served as great transitions and introductions all night long, over two hours of great music.
Wayne’s songs, especially from his new CD Yoyo, go down like a plate full of Texas BBQ and fixin’s. You just can’t help but want seconds and thirds. I highly recommend him as a headliner for any venue that would value an authentic and engaging performer, including house concerts. We’ll for sure have him back to 3rd Street Coffeehouse in Roanoke, VA!
3rd Street Coffeehouse
305 Mountain Avenue SW
Roanoke, VA 24016