Review: Toby Keith, “Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song)”

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October 23, 2009

Toby KeithAt this point in Toby Keith’s career, he is most associated with a tough guy, ultra-masculine persona that he is usually all too happy to perpetuate. So, it is always a pleasant treat when he slows things down and reminds us that he actually has one of the better voices in contemporary country music. Furthermore, his strong vocals naturally wrap around a ballad better than many of his more ballad heavy peers, which is well demonstrated in his latest single, the jazz style “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song)”.

As the parenthetical note suggests, “Cryin’ for Me” is a tribute to one of Keith’s very close friends, basketball star and jazz Bassist, Wayman Tisdale who died after losing his battle with cancer. Backed by a gentle jazz style production, including prominent saxophone (Dave Koz), the song opens with a recording of Wayman’s outgoing voice message, which is later effectively referenced:

“I got up and dialed your number and your voice came on the line;
That old familiar message I heard a thousand times.
It said, ‘Sorry that I missed you leave a message and God bless.’
I know you think I’m crazy, but I had to hear your voice, I guess.”

Instead of the typical generalities that are often in songs about the loss of loved ones, some of the lyrics of “Cryin’ for Me” are an insider’s look at the man about whom Keith is singing. Nevertheless, Keith’s palpable emotion is enough to make this song relatable to all who have lost. In one of the rare occasions that Keith abandons his typical macho swagger to expose himself in a more vulnerable way, we are privileged to experience a sensitive performance for a departed friend, as he acknowledges the truth that accompanies death for all of us: “I’m not cryin’ ‘cause I feel so sorry for you;/I’m Cryin’ for me.”

Written by Toby Keith

Grade: B+

Listen:  Toby Keith, Cryin’ for Me


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  1. rockerbillieNo Gravatar says:

    This is a beautiful song vocally and instrumentally. Toby can sing the blues too. I love the combination of the saxophone and Toby’s voice. The entire CD is terrific.

  2. JuliNo Gravatar says:

    Agreed, Leeann. I tired of Keith’s swagger a long time ago; nice to see him depart from that for a little bit.

  3. KevinNo Gravatar says:

    This song is beautiful. I generally like songs with this theme when they’re done in an understated way, much like Alan Jackson did earlier this year with “Sissy’s Song.”

    Toby at his best is better than most.

  4. Greg MNo Gravatar says:

    There’s been a lot of talk recently about how this year hasn’t produced that many memorable singles and I agree. I actually think this might be the most memorable single of the year, at least for me. The Saxophone alone makes it memorable and like Kevin said, it is a beautiful song.

  5. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar says:

    I am impressed with this release myself. I really like when Toby Keith gets in this mode.

  6. dutchcNo Gravatar says:

    i/we just had a very close friend pass with cancer

    good timing Toby, thank you

  7. rockerbillieNo Gravatar says:

    You can see the video now on CMT.com

    Wonderful Tribute Toby has made for Wayman. Dave Koz is in the video too.

  8. M McMahonNo Gravatar says:

    We lost a beautiful young woman to malignant melanoma about the same time I first heard this song and it resonates all the feelings that I have over her passing. Thank you Toby – love it when you write and sing from the heart. God Bless!

  9. Magi WrennNo Gravatar says:

    My Mama used almost that same quote when we lost my Grandfather. I cry every time I hear that beautiful, wonderful, loving song. I lost my Mama in 1986; I miss her every day. I cry for me. May God Bless Us All.

  10. TonjaNo Gravatar says:

    This song is just what I needed to hear. My brother recently passed away. For the last 21 years he spent behind the prison wallls for a crime he didn’t commit. Just before his death he had learned that the evidence was found the had cleared him of the crime. He is no longer in any pain, but, his death has left me filled with so such much pain and grief. I miss his calls and our visits every other weekend. When I’m driving in my car I’ll be thinking of him and then your song comes on the radio. I feel that it is a sign from him that he’s still with me and I’ll be okay. Thank you. JusticeforNolanKlein.com

  11. Kevin Guerue...Durant,OklahomaNo Gravatar says:

    To be a Native Oklahoman with the love of Country Music and Oklahma Sooners . this Tribute has a profound significance of Heartfelt Tribulation ,being that Cancer has taken so many love ones and the battle is of so much devistation to present and past ..I strongly urge all fans to prioritize your monitoring of your own health..I commend this well deserved tribute to such a talented athlete and musician,,Oklahoma will truely miss Mr Waman Tisdal ,Toby Keith has enlighten us of how cancer truely can take the ones we love…

  12. Sandra RayNo Gravatar says:

    My message is simple. Thank you Tisdale for your inspiration. Well Done.

  13. DaniNo Gravatar says:

    I get choked up hearing this song… thinking of those that have passed and how much I miss them! God Bless Toby for singing what his heart is feeling. Love him!!

  14. aubrieNo Gravatar says:

    heyy my name is aubrie & im 12 years old & <3 this song crying for me!! my friend is having a bad dasy & she loves this song soo thank u toby!!!!!!!

  15. MsakernNo Gravatar says:

    It’s a beautiful song, Toby, full of love and hope. Thank you.

  16. ClaireNo Gravatar says:

    This proves once again the depth of Keith’s musical ability. No one can sing a ballad like he does. The richness in his voice comes through in this one. Maybe that will prove that he is more than a country boy. He’s the best.

  17. JonathanNo Gravatar says:

    hey my name is jonathan i am only 12 years old and the song is awesome. we all hope for the best for you and everyone else out there.

  18. JesiNo Gravatar says:

    I love this song. I recently lost my brother and best friend to a mototcycle accident. This song brings tears to my eyes everytime i hear it. Toby does a wonderful job at showing his true emotions in this one!

  19. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    Rarely heard of him here in Indonesia but he’s great.
    Good job

  20. MENo Gravatar says:

    my horse just died…. she meant the world to me and now this is her song!

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