By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
The pics of DALLAS WAYNE on his debut album reveal this honky-tonk singer/songwriter to be a big fat guy with a floating eye, an impeccably groomed goatee and an apparent fondness for black leather over denim over black.
So he's a big sweaty fat guy. He looks like Meat Loaf's surly twin, and my guess is that he smells of gasoline, beer and cow shit. He also looks like he'd very much enjoy ripping you a new butthole if you glanced at him the wrong way in a bar because he's pissed off at his girlfriend and his pals in the Dixie Demons motorcycle club would only be entertained by it, anyway. He will definitely want to whomp the crap out of me for saying all these things about him, and I'm only a little fat guy so I shall avoid him in the future.
I'm fairly certain Dallas Wayne was crushed when John McCain didn't win the GOP nomination and thought McCain was a real pussy for not running as an independent. I can almost guarantee you that he loves his mommy a lot because that woman is a fuckin' saint. I strongly suspect he's been involved in several farming accidents and that networks of horrible purple scars crisscross his body—the product of botched surgeries by inept hick doctors.
Dallas Wayne is prole country. He's the guy who lives down the street and is a nice, well-meaning fellow, but you dread those occasions when he shows up at your front door with a case of Meister Bräu desiring to "shoot the shit." After seven or eight brewskis, Wayne starts firmly espousing political opinions with which you disagree and talking about how lonely it's been since Lurleen left him as he leers all-too-obviously at your wife's ass. You make a mental note of where your Glock is stashed—just in case—and then you go in the other room, fetch your guitar, and hand it to him because ol' Dallas sings real purty and writes some clever, catchy tunes, and you'd much rather hear him sing than listen to him talk.
To everyone in the neighborhood's surprise, Dallas ends up with a little record deal. You're real happy about it because—what the hell?—Dally deserves his 15 minutes if anyone does, and now that he's on the road promoting his album, he won't be showing up at your front door with Meister Bräu for a while.
Dallas Wayne's debut is called Big Thinkin'. What's he thinkin' 'bout? Well, he can't shake the memory of Lurleen; old records always make him stew about her and it bums him out, gawt-dammit. He enjoys his booze and nicotine, and to hell with those P.C. lib'rlz who would deny him these pleasures. Also, it would seem Dallas Wayne disapproves of Britney Spears.
Did I mention that Dallas Wayne sings real purty? Okay, that was an understatement. His singing is gorgeous, actually—a Waylonesque baritone with George Jones-like phrasing and a vibrato so fast it sounds like he's crooning whilst reclining on a Magic Fingers motel bed massager. Did I mention also that his songs are clever? "You can make a star of a teenage girl/But one million dollars won't make her a Merle," he croons in the bubble-gum-bashing "If That's Country," and if the target of Dallas' scorn seems a mite easy, the rhyme is typically a good'er all the same. He's backed here by the Skeletons and Buck Owens' steel player Tom Brunley, all of whom do a swell job of conjuring up the requisite dive-bar ambiance. The aroma of stale beer and ammonia emanating from a moldering men's room burns the nostrils throughout. Close your eyes, and you'll even see defiled Playboy centerfolds and unfunny bumper stickers on the wall.
For all his prodigious talent, Dallas Wayne will have a hard go of it in country. His music is tradition-minded—not militantly retro enough to speak to the Hootenanny crowd and too respectful of the past for your average line-dancing dork to embrace. And unlike Dwight Yoakam—who can successfully surf the middle ground on good looks alone—he ain't no kinda sex symbol. It's really a shame, because Dallas Wayne—much like local guy Chris Gaffney—might have been a big star in another, more open-minded era. And then he wouldn't come back to my house, pee on the toilet seat, and ogle my wife's ass ever again. Support Dallas Wayne when he plays Friday night at the Abilene Rose. Yessir, I like him.
JUNIOR BROWN also sings real purty and writes real clever tunes, and he may well be the single hottest guitar player in country these days, as he peels ferocious licks off a contraption of his own design called the Guit-Steel, which morphs a standard six-string with an eight-string steel guitar. His voice is comically deep, as dark and resonant as an abandoned coal mine, taking several pages from the bibles of Ernest Tubb and Dave Dudley. But Junior's been as deeply influenced by blues, jazz, surf rock and Jimi Hendrix as he was by Tubb (Jimi's drummer, Mitch Mitchell, even guested on Brown's most recent album, Long Walk Back), making for some real interesting and wildly eclectic music that's too contemporary for the more-retro-than-thou types and too bizarre for countrypolitans. Yet his sound always retains its essential roots in hard, traditional hillbilly music.
With four albums in circulation but no new product in the past two years (get off your ass, Junior), Brown has written some of the most entertaining compositions in the '90s country canon—songs with titles like "My Wife Thinks You're Dead," "Venom Wearin' Denim," "Stupid Blues" and "Doin' What Comes Easy to a Fool." He's a pure goddamned delight is what he is, and it's too bad Junior and Dallas aren't playing on the same bill—wotta night that would be! Rather, you can catch Mr. Brown on the night of Thursday, Oct. 5 at the Sun Theatre with Del McCoury, that traditional bluegrass banjo banger from Bakersville, North Carolina, opening the show—which is just fine by me, anyway.
DALLAS WAYNE performs AT ABILENE ROSE, 10830 WARNER AVE., FOUNTAIN VALLEY, (714) 963-1700. FRI., 9 P.M. CALL FOR COVER; JUNIOR BROWN AND DEL MCCOURY play AT THE SUN THEATRE, 2200 E. KATELLA AVE., ANAHEIM, (714) 712-2700. THURS., OCT. 5, 8 P.M. $27.50-$55.