Jimmy Wayne celebrates more than a birthday today as he announces a brand new imprint called Bea Hive Records and fourth career album titled, Ruby Toons — a 13-track project created to support his fourth book, Ruby The Foster Dog that comes out November 1 on Broadstreet Publishing.
One of the marks of a true artist is the ability to reinvent themselves — to continually find new and creative ways to surprise their audience … and sometimes themselves. Anyone who thinks they know all there is to know about Jimmy Wayne, should be prepared for those perceptions to be challenged.
The North Carolina native is already well known as a chart-topping country music singer, New York Times best-selling author and tireless advocate for the underprivileged and disenfranchised, but prepare to meet “Mr. James” as the talented storyteller emerges as a children’s author with Ruby the Foster Dog, accompanied by his first new music in 10 years.
So, is the new album Ruby Toons, country? Not at all.
The new 13-song collection is a pop/hip hop hybrid that sounds like Taylor Swift meets TobyMac. It’s an uplifting set of songs that wrap positive, life-affirming messages in a colorful musical package.
“People really want to be entertained. Bill Anderson once told me, ‘It’s not a singing business. It’s not a guitar business. It’s an entertainment business,’” says the artist who has populated the country charts with such hits as “Do You Believe Me Now,” “Stay Gone” and “I Love You This Much” and “Paper Angels” — which became a book and a made-for-TV movie — and has graced the New York Times Best Seller list with the autobiographical Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found The Way.
“You have to evolve,” he shares. “I thought, ‘How can I get my message out about foster care? Am I going to be able to do that in a sad broken-hearted message?’ I’ve done that already. I did that in ‘I Love You This Much.’ So how can I reinvent the wheel and tell the story again like I did in Walk to Beautiful so that kids can understand and be inspired?
How do I keep this mission alive?”
He found the answer by looking through the eyes of Ruby, the rescue dog he adopted while walking from Nashville to Phoenix to raise awareness for children who were aging out of the foster care system. “When I started writing this ‘Ruby’ book I was so convicted. I could see the story. All I had to do is write it down,” he says.
“I’d never written a kid’s book. I didn’t know even where to begin. I just started writing and it came out boom, boom, boom. There are a lot of funny stories that are going to make kids laugh.”
The same day Ruby the Foster Dog is released, Mr. James is also releasing Ruby Toons on Bea Hive Records, the label he recently founded in honor of Bea Costner, the woman who changed his life when she and her husband, Russell, took him in when Jimmy was a homeless teen.
The songs are infectious pop/hip hop anthems that share timeless messages of hope and courage wrapped up in the cutting edge music of our time.
It’s a sonic dance party with a mission.
“People don’t expect it from me,” he says of the upbeat pop coming from a known country hitmaker. “A lot of it comes from growing up in foster care. I was exposed to all genres of music. I have a cassette tape of me rapping when I was 13. It’s not something I just started doing. I grew up listening to it, all that music.”
The songs on Ruby Toons are colorful and effervescent. “Puppy Love” has a great groove and fun lyric. “That’s the song that started it all,” he says. “I just think about how Ruby made me feel, how you can just love a dog and a dog loves you. That kind of love is so unconditional. They’ll meet you at the door. They’ll run to you. They’ll quit eating to come greet you. They’ll get up from a dead sleep to come at you and hug you. There’s nothing that loves you more than a dog.”
“Don’t Give Up” is a slice of danceable fun with an encouraging chorus. “I Love U2” is a hilarious tale of new love that remains unrequited and “Family Time” is an entertaining romp about a family vacation that evolves from tedious to life-changing in the best possible way.
“Some Small Good Deed” is an upbeat homage to the Costners and how they changed Jimmy’s life. Up until the day Jimmy wandered into their yard and offered to cut their grass for a few bucks, he had led a tumultuous, tortured life. His mother was often in jail and he found himself in and out of foster care until he finally ran away as a teen and began living on the streets.
When Bea and Russell became aware of his plight, they took him in. He finished high school, graduated college and became a prison guard. Many of the inmates in his care were people from his old neighborhood who fell victim to the drugs and crime.
Music became the vehicle that carried Jimmy to a better life. He earned a record deal, began scoring Number 1 singles and performing in prestigious venues like Madison Square Garden.
In 2010, at the height of his country music success, he did something that baffled the music industry when he decided to walk halfway across America to raise awareness for kids aging out of the foster care system.
His efforts paid off as 23 states enacted laws to extend foster care services age from 18 to 21. Few, if any other artists, would have jeopardized a successful career to come to the aid of those less fortunate, but Jimmy’s vision of success is less about money and fame than it is about lives being changed.
He has chosen to live his life with James 1:27 as his focus: Pure religion before God is this to look after orphans and widows.
“When I came to town, I said, ‘I’m not going to forget where I came from. I’m going to help people,’ and you hear that a lot,” he says. “Then people don’t do the things they said they were going to do. I’m doing exactly what I said I wanted to do the day I drove my truck into town.”
Jimmy Wayne a.k.a. — “Mr. James” — is a born communicator. He’s a Renaissance man, a gifted
storyteller skilled at entertaining audiences through different mediums from music to books to videos and public speaking, but entertainment is not his mission. He sees his platform as an opportunity to better the lives of others.
“Why did I do this record? I recorded this album because the climate we’re in this world needs a positive message,” he states. “It does not need more darkness. Lord knows we need good news. As a Christian, it’s my responsibility to bring this positive message to the world.”
Source: INOV8 PR