"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way and the Free-way!"
 

The 'Free'way Blog Corner

Busy Summer! 

Well - its blog time again and some say it’s been too long. I have to agree! But you simply have to believe me when I say a lot has been going on and time has been limited. Let’s see what I can touch on.

I have wanted to write about and say so much if even just to vent. I began writing on numerous occasions but I couldn’t let it go or publish it. Some things are better left unsaid or left for the judgement or imagination of others whether right or wrong. I feel that some things are better dismissed than addressed publicly even though this is MY BLOG and I can say anything I want!!! I have found that simply writing and reading it back is a great avenue to decompress. With that said, if you have any questions for me concerning any topic, I encourage you to write to me via email to info@waynefree.com. I’ll answer any questions you may have. Maybe I should do a live twitter Q & A? What do you think? I’d probably find myself sitting there quietly enjoying a Coors Light with absolutely no interaction whatsoever. You gotta be popular across the globe to do stuff like that. I keep it real folks.

SO - What’s been goin’ on? A whole bunch! Personally, I got engaged to my girlfriend Ree Ree! That’s a story in itself as I had a grand plan that she foiled. But, it all worked out. It was a wonderful day and I’m so blessed by her. Ree Ree heads up my management team and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy working with her. Some couples can’t do stuff like that - we have no problem. She see’s what I am unable to and does an incredible job of conveying that to clients. 

 

It’s been a little more than seven months since the announcement of my solo career and departure from the embers. In that time, I have been working tirelessly to development my solo acoustic performance and my own band. In the midst of this, I released a single in affiliation with my friends Kingdaddy of Charlotte, NC. We recorded ‘You’re My Girl’ which was penned by their musical director David Shoff. You can find the song on my website www.waynefree.com or on iTunes. We are currently celebrating our rise to the #13 spot on Ted Bell’s weekly Top 20 countdown on 94.9 the Surf in Myrtle Beach. Seems we’ve been on the charts for about 5 weeks now. I hope we make it to number one. I’d love to see that happen for the Kingdaddy bunch. You won’t meet a nicer group of musicians and humans!

 

I’ve spent the majority of the summer working in my studio writing songs, performing solo acoustic shows and touring with my old friends and mentors the Swingin’ Medallions. Let me just say - it’s been great! I would’ve never thought that I would ever perform with the Medallions again. But a genuine phone call from an old friend made all the difference. The short of it is, I was able to reconnect with the first person to afford me the opportunity in the music business and for that I’m eternally grateful. Mr. John McElrath founded the Medallions in 1962. I hadn’t seen him in more than ten years. It was so great to see him again and to thank him in person for all he ever did for me and to tell him how much I appreciate him. The two hours we spent together didn’t seem like enough. But I’m sure he was ready for me to leave - HAHA! I have learned that reflection can be a very good thing. I was also able to redevelop relationships with former band mates that are now back with the group and a couple that never left. Seeing and working with them again and laughing about old times has been incredibly therapeutic! I’m telling ya, when you’re down or simply in need, you learn who your real friends are and who really cares for your well being. Its like the good Lord just does work and you have no clue what’s going on. You just have to trust and believe and follow his light. Next thing you know - you’re where you are and you’re asking yourself, “What?!?! How did this happen?” 

 

I have had several offers this summer to join or take part in other groups. None of which felt right though I did try. I didn’t want to travel down a seemingly comfortable or familiar path filled with skepticism with no obvious or guaranteed reward or security as in years past. I didn’t want to be promised the world again. And even if I was, I would’t have believed it. My days of being gullible and believing in folks you think you know but turn out to be strangers have past. I’ve always wanted to perform solo acoustic which I have been doing. It is something I’ve always wanted to do but never could because of my complete dedication to my previous music jobs. I never could dedicate enough time to the guitar in order to feel comfortable in front of an audience. No Longer the case! I’ve performed throughout the summer acoustically and loved every minute of it. I wish I could perform at every venue every night that has called. I love it that much and am available - just give me a call or message me! 

 

After the past ten years, I know for sure that the next step for me is to form my own band. I have spent a large part of the past seven months searching for and rehearsing musicians to find that certain sound and groove I’m hearing in my head. I have landed with a certain core group of guys that share the same passion for music as I do. As I am sometimes a little impatient, things don’t always happen as quickly as I’d like. But again, I have to trust and believe and continue working and pushing forward. The first night we rehearsed together, I felt as if we could’ve pulled off a gig the very next day! That is the beauty of playing with veterans. I’m very happy to have these guys onboard.

 

Other things that happened this summer - I was a featured guest on the Crossover with Jim Quick! What a great time that was! My complete interview with Jim can be heard on my website at www.waynefree.com right on the home page. It is broken into four segments for your listening pleasure. I’d like to thank Jim for his friendship and support over the past seven months and prior. I’d also like to thank him for the invite and for a great interview. I hope to be able to share the bill with Jim and Coastline this coming year. I appreciate your friendship Jimmy!!

 

One other big thing Ree and I did this summer was to venture down to Atlanta and film an episode for the TLC hit television series “Say Yes to the Dress”! Ree was invited because she had recently been a part of two of the highest rated episodes as a bridesmaid for her very close friend (virtually her sister) Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron. Caressa was so gracious to nominate Ree for the show much to Ree Ree’s chagrin. Seem’s Ree was pretty popular after those episodes! At any rate, having given her own rules of engagement, we headed out to Atlanta to film at Bridals by Lori with family in tow. What a fantastic experience, though very stressful! I was the first and only groom to ever be allowed in the “hen house”. I was actually able to give input on the dress, but they kicked me out in the end! I wanted to be surprised so I had to go. Wouldn’t you know they asked me to sing! I couldn’t really do it. I hate when people discover you’re a singer and they go, “Oh! Sing something for me!” I’m so poor in that situation. I can sing in front of 20,000 people but in close quarters - I get painfully nervous. I break out in a cold sweat! But that day was very emotional for us. I actually tried to sing (a little) and when Ree Ree looked at me, I got all choked up! What a wimp! It was a very cool experience though. They have planned to film our wedding day in - you guessed it - Memphis, Tennessee at Graceland in May of next year! Seems the only other person to film there for a reality show was Gene Simmons. Interesting enough in itself! We hope for the best from this experience and we hope you tune in to watch. I’ll be sure and keep you posted as details become available. Now that Honey Boo Boo is canceled, maybe they’ll make room for the ‘ReeFree show ~ couples therapy’. I’m only kidding. I wish only the best for the HBB family. 

 

Okay, well that about sums it up for the summer - the highlights anyway. 

 

OH! - I almost forgot — really!

 

I have launched a ‘gofundme’ campaign to raise funds to help me with the launch of the Wayne Free Band! Follow the link or widget below. Via the help of friends, the Swingin’ Medallions and my own funding I have been able to overcome many of the obstacles that reveal themselves when forming a new group. Given the talent, knowledge and fortitude, what is left is the funding for the remainder of the gear, travel and expenses necessary to start a group. I have exhausted all of my own finances to this point and am seeking sponsorship and support to get over the proverbial hump in order to hit the road. I ask that you please follow this link to visit my campaign. Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated! If you cannot contribute, I ask that you please share via your social media outlets. The largest sponsors will receive perks such as merchandise, private performances, free music and/or lunch with yours truly. At the very least, as a friend of mine I ask that you please spread the word about the Wayne Free Band or my solo acoustic performances. I also plan to release an album within the first year of touring. Contact me for more information.

 

Alright, that’s all I have for now. I will ‘blog in’ more often and keep you all posted as to what’s happening on the “Freeway”. I thank you in advance and I appreciate you more than you know.

 

Only the best to you and yours,

 

Wayne


RUMORS - UGH! 

It’s taken a while to post an entry because I’ve been really busy so let me get to bloggin’.

Headed to Roanoke, VA today with Ree for a gig at Sidewinders with The Embers tonight. We’ve not been playing much lately (outside of the four shows last week) so I’m sure tonight will be pretty fun. 

 

        **Side note: I’m finishing this entry the following day and we did indeed have a great night last night!
                             Stayed over in Roanoke with family and friends. Had a late night and a great time!    
                            Beverages were endless…

 

I’ve been listening to lots of recordings hidden away on my laptop of past projects of mine. Some Elvis stuff I did, original stuff, Embers stuff, Medallions stuff, tracks and sequences, etc. All kinds of things. In listening to The Embers stuff, its a shame that we never completed work on our last album. We released a couple of songs but never completed the project. Some of you may have heard the songs we released (if ya haven’t click here) but there are some no one has heard. Jeff (Jeff Grimes - Embers member with me) and I had a heck of a protocol going between his studio and mine. We turned out some pretty complex stuff. Very good in fact. Listening to old recordings with fresh ears can sometimes be an eye [or ear] opener. We were able to make some old songs seem new again. I really enjoyed working with Jeff on that project. He's intuitive and creative to say the least. I hope to work with him on future projects. He is an extremely talented individual. An asset in my life for sure. I’m a better musician, performer, engineer/producer and singer because of his influence. I’m sure he has no idea. If you’ve never heard him play - you should. He’s a beast! So come to a show!

 

Speaking of Embers - RUMORS - UGH!! I’m so freaking sick of all the crap we hear [happened again at the show last night]. Ever since I joined this band, the rumors have circled like buzzards over a fresh pop. It’s bothersome and often worrisome. It amazes me how so many people know so much more about the group I’m employed by than I do! Even more than my employer who chooses to ignore it all and let it fester rather than discount it publicly! That’s just how he chooses to handle it and thats okay. People even call me to tell me (not ask me) what is going to happen with this group and when I can expect to lose my job. I believe there is a click of folks that have nothing better to do than fabricate and see how far it will go or to just cause others a little grief. Misery indeed loves company I suppose. Guess if they’re talking about ya at least they’re thinking about ya. Who knows, maybe the joke is on me. I just wish people would stop. In no walk of life have I ever been interested in making up things at the expense of others. ‘Treat others as you wanna be treated’ means something to me. 

 

I honestly think there is a group of people somewhere that want to see The Embers fail for whatever reason. Keep in mind that I’m relatively new to the area and this market. I’ve only been exposed to it since I’ve been with the Embers. But my take is (from my outsider perspective) that once the original lead singer left the group (or was let go) back in ’94, rumors really amped up and in effect haven't stopped. It was a big deal and everyone was shocked I’m sure. Then the other long time front man was let go = more rumors. This was followed by other members leaving and to my understanding began a sort of revolving door of musicians effectively concluding the end of an era for the group. Then the record deal (record label Embers signed to before I was hired - will not name it) came about and didn’t flourish as expected. This all happened before my time and I wasn't involved with any of it. I feel that long time dedicated fans were upset, confused and somewhat angered. The two aforementioned former lead singers of the group had and continue to have loyal followers in their own right. I feel like those times of discourse stemmed hurt amongst them and the fans and resulted in the construction of a high volume rumor mill built by said loyal followers of those very talented singers and showmen! Not to mention fans of the group in general. I think many felt they (former lead singers) were done wrong and that band management was faltering or corrupt. But of course there are two sides to every story and many chose not to ask - just speak. This is just my humble opinion. At any rate, I walked right into this grinder not knowing what all had transpired before I was hired.             

 

Now, I’m part of the rumors and the subject of some as well. I was to be “let go” first of the year. I still hear that my days (and those of other band mates) are numbered and that former members will soon return to my demise. Unnerving. In some rumors I’ve heard that I will be asked to step aside and just play horn and no longer sing - or maybe just a couple songs a night in relief. This after only a year ago my band leader and boss saying he wanted to portray me as the ‘voice of the group’ with the new album project we were working on. Of course I asked him about all of these rumors and he assures me there are no plans moving forward with the group that do not include me. That can be taken several ways I suppose. He also claims there will be a lot of disappointed folks out there when nothing of the sort happens. He has never bold faced lied to me so I have to believe him. I choose to. God has a path for me - I'm just gonna walk it. It's that simple and I have no worries.

 

I will honestly say though, that were I to be let go that it might be a blessing. As long as I’m in this band I will never be able to gain the respect in my own right that I could potentially earn simply because of the shadows of those before me. The proof is in radio airplay. The bridges burned and baggage claimed over 55 years of existence (band was founded in 1958) are insurmountable and I haven’t the strength or capability to make a difference. I have great respect for my predecessors but I (and the group as a whole) are continuously and will always be compared to the group of old during it’s most successful years. It’s almost like I’m standing in the dark no matter how bright the lights are. Not rewarding in the least. It really bums me out when old school fans tell me that we suck and that we’re nothing like the old band. Hard core folks that can’t deal with the fact that over time things inevitably change. But I must say those comments are far outweighed by the positive without doubt. There are tons of great Embers fans out there and I appreciate each and every one! Additionally, I know great players when I see them and I'm surrounded by them each gig. I'm proud to represent them and share the stage with them. Some folks are just full of themselves, uneducated on the topic and unaware. Did I mention DRUNK? That happens A LOT! Just part of the biz.

 

When I was offered the job as lead singer for this storied group I was blown away. But I told the band leader that I had already been a part of a regionally successful touring band and had no desire to repeat that. I wanted the opportunity to reach the next level - nationally. Of course I was promised that…and long story short - here we are today. I’m truly grateful for the gig but it comes with a heavy tariff! People should realize that we (current band) aren’t trying to be the old group and have no desire to be. We don’t even draw a comparison in our minds. We just want to perform for folks to the best of our ability each show and move a crowd. It’s about the music and the soul for us. Perhaps our remaining original member and founder of the group still hangs on to the years of old and strives to get the band back there but in my opinion it just won’t be. No disrespect to him but that was a special group at the right time. The perfect mix of talent and a hungry audience. It was a special time that will never be matched. Those that lived it should consider themselves fortunate. The original guys through 1994 were a special gift - unmatched and a catalyst for the genre. 

 

Don’t misinterpret  - I have great respect for the position I hold within this group and am grateful to be here.

 

**moving on…

 

I’ve been practicing very hard thus far this year to develop my solo act. It’s something I’ve never done. I’ve been in the music business as a paid entertainer or player (otherwise known as a professional) for close to 25 years. I have only been in two real touring bands during that time (The Swingin’ Medallions & The Embers). I have always been completely dedicated to making “my band” 100% successful and always put the band's needs before my own. I've always been a team player singing and playing what was asked of me and have worked tirelessly off the stage to keep the band functioning properly. Not once have I ever played or performed on my own terms. Nor have I ever been able to perform my own music (with a brief exception). I’ve not even had time to write songs because of my constant dedication to someone else’s band or cause. Its simple, I want to start playing music for me. I want to work for me. I think I deserve it. My Dad told me once - look around you, Son. You’ve been as loyal as a puppy. What have you got to show for it? My goal is still that God will work through me to help or touch others in some way through music and the capabilities and knowledge he has blessed me with. It’s still about that for me. Alway will be. I don’t care about being rich, I just want to build and provide a business for my sons. They love music and are planning a future in it in affiliation with me. I want to build a business for them. No better time than the present to begin. They deserve it as do I. I’ve learned through shortcomings, failure and experience and I plan to exercise it all to shape the foundation of the future for myself and my family. 

 

When not playing with the Embers, I’m gonna start doing solo gigs. I’m the only band member that doesn’t play side gigs with exception of our founder because this is his band. I plan to be multi-faceted with it. Not just acoustic guitar and voice but more. You’ll have to see what I mean when I start giggin'. Who knows where it’ll lead but I just hope I get hired back wherever I play! I want to enjoy the music again. I have lots of ideas. So much so that I find it hard to sleep at night even when I’m zonked! The wheels just won’t stop turning. Possibilities for the driven are endless.

 

I hope any reader of this blog doesn’t spin the previous paragraphs into another negative rumor - geez. I’ve had enough already! I’ll let you know…

 

- ’til then

My avenue to vent....Intro to my blog 

From time to time, we all have seen the backlash in social media about bloggers. Blogging has the potential to be good and bad. A blogger can expose themselves to such a degree that they are subject to further judgement by all reaches of society and peers as a whole. Just understand that I am aware. Some will approve of my writings here — some will not. I'm okay with that. The great thing is that a blogger can use his/her little piece of the interweb to say whatever they want and the reader can choose to click on something else — that's a beautiful thing. To a degree, I would imagine this blogging deal to be liberating and potentially dangerous! But with all this said, I have decided to step into the blogosphere in 2014. I usually shy away from personal thoughts and slang language in public and in my writings largely due to my profession as an entertainer — but not here. I will use this forum to speak freely, honestly and completely using varying degrees of expression. I will speak on things personal and professional. Whatever strikes me at the moment will be included here. I suppose an online diary of sorts (eek!!!). What the hell -- I’m turning the page. I will most likely rub folks the wrong way at times but I have spent the bulk of my life subduing my thoughts and feelings. SERENITY NOW, I say! After all, I do pay $19.95 per month for this literary space and its kin. I'll do with it what I want!


SO - it is my hope that you will get to know me better, enjoy the writings herein and join me on my ride in the coming months. BLOG ON LITTLE SOLDIER!

 

 

- only the best to you!

 

Join my mailing list!

Please prove that you are not a robot
Please join the 'Free'way nation to read and participate in my blogs...