As a native Texan who grew up in a honky tonkin' family listening to this this guy's family's records I was really excited to discover Waylon Payne. I was so excited, in fact, that I forwarded the story to one of my favorite glbt blogs, Queerty, who promptly linked to the item. (Thanks guys!) Here's their summary of the story that explains my interest...
Country Singer/Actor Brings Something New
Namely, His Sexuality...
Contrary to popular belief, we aren't omniscient. Shocking, we know, but true none-the-less. Thus, we always appreciate tips from you, our darling and oh-so in-tune readers. Had it not been for a reader in Texas, we would never have come across this story on country singer Waylon Payne.
Perhaps most widely known for his short appearance in the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk The Line, Payne hails from country music royalty, Sammi Smith. His father, a man named Jody who made his living as Willie Nelson's guitarist, didn't come around too often and Payne spent most of his childhood under the tutelage of his "Bible-thumping" aunt and uncle. Inculcated with Christian conviction, Payne foresaw a life in the Church. That is, however, until a little thing called sex reared its ugly head.
Jeff Prince reports for Fort Worth Weekly:
Carnal desires can crimp a budding minister’s future — perhaps more so considering that Payne’s first partner was a Catholic monk. Throw in budding affections for beer, marijuana, and popular music, and his downfall was complete in the eyes of his foster parents.
“I haven’t seen them since,” he said. “I was branded a sinner and basically disowned.”While some wannabe superstars would put a lid on it, Payne's not one to run from his problems. He did enough of that in his younger days, when he lived on a diet of whiskey and methamphetamines. Sure, he still smokes a little ganj, but he's squashed most of his demons.
Payne is now content in his own skin, yet aware that public discussion of an alternative sexuality can hurt someone scrambling for footing on the entertainment biz’ slippery slopes. A music industry insider who asked not to be named put it this way: “Once he becomes famous, he could probably ease out that personal information, and it wouldn’t be bad, because people would know him and love him by then; now is too soon.”
Payne walks his own path. He didn’t want this article to make a big deal about his sexual preference, but he didn’t want to hide it either.
“I like who I like, and that’s that,” he said.Sure, it may seem a bit unlikely for an openly queer singer to capture the hearts of the genre's core (largely Christian) audience, but Payne's obviously not one to be deterred.
And, even if the country music scene doesn't embrace him, we sure will. Hey, Waylon, give us a ring-a-ding. You can find our number on fine bathroom walls nationwide.