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Matt Wayne possesses what much of the rockers with so-called red dirt in their veins are sorely lacking: kick-ass southern soul. This is a North Texas based artist who captivated a 2009 Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Festival crowd with a stirring set that induced not only goose bumps from the audience, but a hearty standing ovation as well. Knowing the emotions that Wayne’s music can arouse in a crowd, it’s of little shock that Wayne was asked to be the regular opener for the highly attended Wednesday night series at Overtime Sports Bar & Grill in Burleson, where he has frequently set the stage for many of the greats in Texas Country, including Bleu Edmondson and Jason Boland, among many others.
Sharing the stage with the top names in Red Dirt and bringing an adoring crowd to its collective feet is what Wayne had in mind all along, especially when, several years ago, at 21 years old, he performed his first paying gig in DeSoto, TX. At that moment, he had been writing and singing for three years and fully understood that he wasn’t much interested in simply being one indiscernible guitar slinger in the crowded world of red dirt rock. Wayne has drawn from his diverse influences, including the Kentucky Headhunters, to craft two albums of pure audio gold. Wayne’s latest gift, Wrong Things Right, was released in August by Winding Road Music. This latest offering boasts a polish that manages to preserve the sweat and the grit of any great, organic sound, without glossing over what makes this artist stand out from the gathering of REO Speedwagon revivalists, masquerading as country acts in every Texas college town.
The combined elements that create Wayne’s sound are a classic, yet rare, formula, indeed. One part bottle-shooting southern rocker, and one part Texas-raised songsmith, topped off with the burn of homemade shine, Wayne’s ability to rock while still being country is almost as impressive as his ability to wink while shedding a tear.