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The WDVX Big Plate – 12/8 – Alyssa & Wayne Brewer / Hearth
December 8, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
When youthful passion and timeless songs intersect, it’s a creative crossroads where everything old seems new again. That’s definitely the case with husband and wife country duo Alyssa & Wayne Brewer’s new album Alyssa and Wayne Sing George and Tammy, due for release on Friday, September 15.
Wayne Brewer, a sixth-generation musician well-known for his work with Gary Brewer & The Kentucky Ramblers, and his talented wife Alyssa teamed to salute country legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette. The Brewer’s debut album finds the couple covering such well known classics as the first single, “Golden Ring” and “We’re Gonna Hold On” in addition to lesser known gems like “Rosie Bokay.”
Wayne and Alyssa approached the project with equal amounts of unbridled enthusiasm and humble trepidation. “We committed and agreed to do our debut release as a tribute to the two best country singers of all time. It was a major undertaking,” Wayne recalls. “We did all these in the original keys that George and Tammy cut them in, except I did ‘Rosie Bokay’ as a nod to Bobby Osborne, who cut it up a key high. All the rest of the songs are in the original keys, which I thought was important.”
Married since 2015, Wayne says recording a duet album has been a goal since he and Alyssa began dating, but other career demands kept them busy. Wayne not only performs with the Ramblers, but is also CEO of SGM (Stretch Grass Music) and Alyssa serves as COO of the label. Eventually, the couple found time to get in the studio and recorded the Townes Van Zandt classic “If I Needed You,” a song they had sung to each other at their wedding. The combination of Wayne’s earnest approach and Alyssa’s achingly vulnerable vocals earned them instant fans.
A friend at SGM’s distribution company, Sony/The Orchard, encouraged them to record an entire album and suggested they revive the Jones/Wynette catalog. Both Wayne and Alyssa had grown up listening to the country music icons and the project seemed a natural fit. “We’ve always been big fans of theirs, but who isn’t? Everybody knows George’s range was unlike anybody’s that ever has been or ever will be, so it was an undertaking,” Wayne says.
Yet the couple rose to the challenge, even though they were recording at the same time they were adjusting to being first-time parents. “After we had a baby, we started working on it when she was a newborn, so we waited until we had the least amount of time to start this,” Alyssa laughs about the challenging circumstances. “This was only my second time ever in the studio, but I had a lot of guidance from Wayne because he’s been producing so many albums over the years.”
Alyssa and Wayne Sing George and Tammy became a labor of love for the young couple and the recording sessions were intimate and emotional with Wayne alone in the control room and Alyssa singing directly to him. “I said, ‘I’ll sit on the board, and you’ll be in the tracking room, looking right at me through the glass. I’ll track all your vocals with you singing directly to me,’” he recalls. “So that’s how this was cut, and I feel like you can hear that in the album.”
East Tennessee’s Own Alex & Miranda Leach join us as a new duo called Hearth.