SiriusXM listeners who are into traditional country are well acquainted with Dallas Wayne. For the better part of two decades he’s gained a following as an on-air personality on SiriusXM’s Willie’s Roadhouse channel, and he can also be found two hours a day as a host on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel.
But his fans around the world know Wayne is also an accomplished singer and songwriter himself, in a league with friends like Willie Nelson and other legends he’s crossed paths with through the decades. Now he’s releasing a new album, Coldwater, Tennessee, his first in almost three years. Thanks partly to a conversation he had with longtime friend Buddy Cannon, known for producing Nelson and Kenny Chesney, Wayne decided to record a batch of songs he’d written, some with a longtime friend, Chicago-based alt-country traditionalist Robbie Fulks.
“Buddy asked me what I wanted to do and I said wanted to make another album,” Wayne said, “and he said, ‘Why don’t you let me produce it?’ And I said ‘Sure!’ You’d be a fool to turn that down. I admire him as a producer and a songwriter, and I admire him as a man. He‘s smart, he’s talented.”
Wayne typically has run his own show in the studio, but this time he decided to let Cannon take over completely, starting with picking the musicians. “We used a lot of the same folks that he uses on Willie’s records and Kenny’s records,” Wayne said. “And this is the first time I’ve ever sat the guitar down and said I just wanted to be the writer and the singer. I just wanted to concentrate on singing, and on the songs themselves, and let somebody else produce. It was a great way to work.”
“I would send Buddy 20 or 25 songs,” he said, “and I would say, ‘I want you to pick.’ I wanted his input on this, because I think some fresh ears are important. We ended up with 10, and then the final song was a song that Buddy, Bill Anderson and I wrote, called ‘He Even Brought Her Flowers.’ I had this one about three-quarters of the way done and I kind of hit a brick wall, so I turned it over to them and they spiffed it up and polished it pretty quick. I shipped it off to them and the next day they had it cleaned up. It showed me the value of editing, and the concise nature of these Hall of Fame songwriters and how they work. They’re still writing under the three-minute constraints because they’ve been writing radio hits for the last five decades. They did a great job on that.”
Wayne is one busy man, somehow finding the time and energy to host radio programs eight hours a day, write songs, record and promote albums, and play live shows at places like the Opry and the historic Paramount in Bristol. But he still looks at his day job as a gift. “My job is pretty written in stone, it’s what I get up every day and do,” he said. “I’ve been working for SiriusXM for 17 years, and a 17-year stint in radio is almost unheard of. It isn’t lost on me. I know how lucky I am to be able to do it, and I’ll probably do it for another 17 if they’ll have me.”
“We’re lucky enough to have a platform on Outlaw Country and Willie’s Roadhouse to where this music, music like this, has a home,” he said of the traditional country he’s so influenced by. “I asked Willie when I started working for the radio, I said, ‘They were playing my records before I came here, so do you mind my playing them?’ And he said, ‘Why the hell else would you get into radio if you can’t play your own stuff?’”
The single “He Even Brought Her Flowers” will be available on digital platforms on March 25, and Wayne’s new album Coldwater, Tennessee will be available on April 22.