Release Date : May 13th
Veteran Texas songwriter Wayne Willingham returns with his 5th album, Temptation Row. To truly appreciate the new record, one must first know a bit about Wayne’s journey to this point. For 26 years Willingham was a full time performer, earning his stripes in bars, honky tonks and such throughout Texas and then one day he walked away. He spent the next 19 years in the corporate world and not really even thinking of the music he left behind. Then one day someone handed him a guitar.
This time around, Willingham was determined to take a different route. Instead of the dive bars and the cover bands that ruled his younger days, he would draw on his songwriting heroes like Joni Mitchell, John Denver, Paul Simon and Gordon Lightfoot and use his talents to tell stories that people could see and feel. Over the next four years Willingham released four albums of original material and began playing listening rooms and house concerts, connecting with the audience in a completely new and refreshing way.
With no intentions of making another record a bout of writer’s block didn’t faze Willingham at the outset of the pandemic. He focused his energy on reorganizing his personal life and through that he found that songs began to flow out of him again. The resulting album, Temptation Row, contains 8 tracks that all tell a compelling story. Backed by a smooth studio band, Willingham’s sometimes haunting and always superb vocals force the lyrical content to the forefront.
Covering a plethora of topics and emotions, Temptation Row’s songs fall somewhere in the folk/ Americana place in the musical landscape. Starting with the album’s opener, “Runnin’ Away” and continuing through tracks like “The Lady” and “Dancing With Him”, Willingham demonstrates a keen eye for the trials and tribulations of the relationships that all of us have experienced through our lives. “Hot Rod” finds Wayne paying tribute to his younger brother, whom he lost over the pandemic, a closure of sorts that anyone that has lost a loved one will be able to relate to. Later in the album, the first single and title track tell the tale of the seedier of side of every town in America. Closing out the album is a splendid cover of Leonard Cohen’s 1966 track, “Suzanne”.
Temptation Row will serve as an introduction to Wayne Willingham to many people and a welcome door to the rest of his catalog. With its release, these newcomers will quickly learn what his fans already know, Wayne Willingham is much more than just another songwriter from Texas.