January 5, 2009
Miley Cyrus’ boyfriend, Justin Gaston, survived two rounds of NBC’s Nashville Star this past summer; the L.A. underwear model failed to turn his golden-boy good looks into a John Rich recording session.
If Gaston’s sniffing around Nashville for a musical muse, he shall look no further. He bears a striking resemblance to Jimmy Wayne, that emotive purveyor of power-pop country. The pair share an ability to trade in their pretty-boy carriages and a connection with Taylor Swift (Gaston’s the Romeo in “Love Story”; Wayne records for Valory, an imprint of Big Machine).
Wayne’s glorious fist pumps and gaudy wailing made the video for “I Will” such a mess. The audio portion of the package fares no better. “I Will” is in an overanxious rush to go nowhere, with crashing guitars and admissions of codependency. Wayne is a capable vocalist; proof positive was his debut single, “Stay Gone.” But he’s straining like an early ’90s Michael Bolton here. With the song climbing through the 30s of the airplay chart, one imagines that country music is making some room for paperback-romance poetry (“I will give up my life for you if you want it/Give you my heart, you already own it”). Radio will spin the record in between Geico commercials, but will I remember “I Will” six months from now? I won’t.
Written by Dave Pahanish and Rory Lee Feek
Listen: I Will
Buy: I Will