Raw, Poignant "Cryin' For Me (Wayman's Song)" Is Keith's First Solo Nod
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) Toby Keith's first solo GRAMMY nomination in the "Best Male Country Vocal Performance" category is a fitting tribute to his late friend Wayman Tisdale, an accomplished and respected jazz bass player and basketball legend. It is also an acknowledgement of the emotional response, both as a writer and a vocalist, Keith poured out through the song as he grieved for his friend. "Cryin' For Me (Wayman's Song)" is arguably the most impassioned musical work of Keith's career and, at the same time, a snapshot of a very bleak day.
Keith explains: "Wayman Tisdale was the greatest basketball player ever at the University of Oklahoma, great NBA player and great jazz musician. He was a great guy who always had a smile on his face and touched everybody. We’ve all got some wall that’s around us, but Wayman had no wall around him. Everyone was just a handshake and smile away from being Wayman’s friend. "He called me on a Thursday night at nine o’clock and was going to lease a couple of my buses to take out on the road for a couple of days. The next morning, his esophagus gave way from all the chemo he’d been taking. At his last treatment all of his scans were clear and he was ready to go back to work. Then his esophagus collapsed and he passed away the next morning at 8 o'clock. We lost him and I wrote this song 'Cryin’ For Me' for Wayman. I was going to play it at the funeral, but it was too emotional at the time, too close to play it. I waited a couple months and recorded it. I met Dave Koz and I’d already met Marcus Miller, and asked them if they’d be interested in playing on it. Dave Koz plays sax on it; Marcus Miller lead bass Wayman’s style and we put the song together. It’s a very touching tribute to my buddy." Keith did eventually play the song. His performance at the Academy of Country Music Awards earlier this year was offered for sale on iTunes, with proceeds benefiting Stand Up 2 Cancer, which raises money for cancer research and treatment.