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Web Exclusive: Paradise Found

Dusty Drake, Danielle Peck and Jimmy Wayne share thoughts on music, life and . . . Jamaica!

Comments from Dusty Drake:

We’ve been non-stop having’s just laughter, blue drinks and country music. What else could you ask for? And look at the weather!

You can always find something to laugh about, especially when you’re on a vacation like this. It’s kinda hard to get depressed here. I was trying to write a depressing song on the balcony of my room last night . . . it just wasn’t happenin’. It started out with something really sad, and ended up with “I know her like the back of my van.” Or something like that, and I started laughin’. Then I heard Lia [Lia Knight of the Lia show], she was in the room below us, laughing. I heard Jimmy Wayne below her laughing. Next thing I know, half the building is laughing at the song I’m writing and I’m thinking, it was supposed to be sad! [Laughs]

My album’s gonna be called Dusty Drake at a Honky Tonk Near You. It’s gonna be up-tempo songs. Sometimes people say it’s a grueling process looking for tunes. But, for me, if it’s up-tempo and I want tap my foot and throw my neck out doin’ this . . . [he stretches out his neck] . . . typically what I do is take a CD full of songs and drive down the highway. And if I break 85 miles an hour, then I think “I’ve got a good song there!” ‘Cause I forgot about the speed limit!

Same with a ballad. I want to feel it. I either want it to make me smile like my new single “Say Yes” did . . . or make me cry. And if you can find that in a song, I’m as much a fan as anybody. I was the guy runnin’ for the grass seats at the venue, to get the best seat. I was waitin’ at the gate. Now, to be on the other side, I just try to attach that same emotion to the song so that I can sell that same thing to the people.

Comments from Danielle Peck:

When I want to have a good time and relax at home, I’ll go to a movie or read a book or invite my friends over and cook dinner. Those are the little things that people take for granted that they get to do all the time that I don’t get to do . . . ever. So when I’m home for a day or two, I try to do something like that just to kind of connect with my home base and collect my thoughts and get real.

I think country music fans love country music because it speaks to them. And country music is about real life. It’s about being real. And I think country music has always been that way. That’s how I write my music . . . when I write a song it’s from my life, how I feel or what I think. So if I feel these feelings and think these thoughts and I put it on paper and to music and make a song out of it, somebody somewhere’s gotta feel the same thing somewhere out there. It’s kind of a big circle, I throw out who I am. And if someone in the crowd accepts that and relates to it, I can see it—in their body language or the eye contact or something. Or their “Hey, I’ve been there!” I feel like . . . it’s a big circle. They give it back . . . and I know I’m normal . . . normal for feeling the way I felt when I wrote that song. ‘Cause somebody else feels it too. And it’s a great way to relate and connect with people.

I just want to be able to stand onstage every night and be who I am. I don’t want to be fake. I want to be real every single night. I want to be who I am. And if I keep it all real, then I get to be me every night. And I don’t want to be anybody else.

Comments from Jimmy Wayne:

CW: Was this your first time sailing and snorkeling?

JW: First time on the snorkeling, first time on the sailing, but I’ve gotta say the snorkeling was just unbelievably fun. It exceeded all my expectations. It really was unbelievable. The fish in the water, you never see fish like that unless they’re in some kind of aquarium in a steak house. They’re right there in front of your eyes and starfish bigger than your head. They were there in the water. I was like, “Oh my gosh!”

CW: You played a song at the rest stop on the way to the resort . . . what did you play?

JW: We stopped at this place called The Halt. And the lady behind the counter didn’t even have a cash register. She had a box that she kept the money in and she had a note pad where she wrote down all the items that were purchased. It was almost like an empty store. There was like a clothes line that had clothes hanging on it, and there were some items carved out of wood, and ceramics . . . stuff like that. And there were two gentlemen sittin’ on a stool at this bar. And one of them said, “Hey, mon, come next door and I’ll show you some of my work.” He said, “You need to get something for the queen, ‘cause if the queen’s not happy, the king’s not happy.” And he said, “If she ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” And when he said that I said, “I wrote a song called ‘What Makes You Happy.’ Let me play it for you.“ I played it and he was tappin’ his foot and the van driver was groovin’ to it. So when we got to the hotel, the driver asked me to pull my guitar out again and I played it. Next thing you know, there’s four guys literally dancin’ their butts off! And people were clapping. That was so much fun!

For more on these stars in Jamaica, check out the July 16 issue of Country Weekly.