I get sent tracks from artists daily, so many that I can’t listen to everything that gets sent to me. But when I happened upon Alyssa and Wayne Brewer’s cover of George and Tammy’s “Golden Ring,” I stopped in my tracks. They were so good that I wanted to learn more about the gifted duo.
Alyssa and Wayne Brewer are from Louisville, Kentucky, and have been married since 2015. Wayne Brewer, a sixth-generation musician is well-known for his work with Gary Brewer & The Kentucky Ramblers.
It didn’t take long for Gary Brewer and the rest of the band to discover what an amazing voice Alyssa Brewer had. They heard her sing at church and knew she had talent.
Once married, Alyssa Brewer occasionally joined the Ramblers in a song or two, and it was always in the couple’s plans to record music together. A friend from Sony/The Orchard encouraged them to cut an entire record and covering the legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette was a natural fit.
Because of the recent award-winning Showtime mini-series about George Jones and Tammy Wynette, their music has had a new resurgence in popularity. And even though Alyssa Brewer and Wayne Brewer had just had their first child, Alanya Brewer, the timing was perfect. This is how A&W Sing George And Tammy originated.
“After we had a baby, we started working on it when she was a newborn, so we waited until we had the least amount of time to start this,” Alyssa laughed about the challenging circumstances. “This was only my second time ever in the studio, but I had a lot of guidance from Wayne because he’s been producing so many albums over the years.”
The first song they released was “Golden Ring.” It was released in mid-July and in addition to me, it caught the attention of other country and roots outlets including The Bluegrass Situation, Saving Country Music, COWGIRL Magazine, and Americana Highways, among others.
The day the video came out on YouTube it was unlisted and had 29 views and once it was put to “listed” it gained more than 50,000 views in two days. The pair were on vacation, and when they found out, they were tickled. They went to celebrate at a high-end restaurant in Daytona. The chef was a country music fan and he had seen the video and he loved it so much that he comped their meal.
And if having more than 150,000 views on “Golden Ring” wasn’t enough, a few weeks later they put out their cover “We’re Going to Hold On.” The song has had more than one million views. I think it’s my favorite song on the record.
The video “We’re Going to Hold On” which premiered on CMT is a rendition of a timeless song delivered with fresh passion. The pair pour their hearts and souls into the storytelling of this love song. The official music video most notably features Alayna Brewer holding/playing Wayne Brewer’s guitar that he performed with as a young boy on the Opry when he won the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest person to be on the Grand Ole Opry at just 18 months old.
The thing that makes Alyssa Brewer and Wayne Brewer’s versions so endearing is that they let the lyrics shine. Alyssa Brewer has an achingly vulnerable vocal that combines effortlessly with Wayne’s earnest and sultry twang. The duo captures George and Tammy’s endearment for one another without overshadowing the original words. But it’s more than that. Everyone knows about the volatile relationship that the legends had. Alyssa Brewer and Wayne Brewer’s love and admiration for each other is evident in their music. Alyssa Brewer has a sweeter tone than Tammy Brewer while Wayne sounds a bit more convincing as he confesses his love for his wife.
Not only that, there is a part in the video where Alyssa Brewer and Wayne Brewer had to act out a little fight, and they had to do it about ten times because Alyssa Brewer was smiling too much.
Alyssa Brewer and Wayne Brewer’s versions indeed have a little more of a roots and bluegrass feel. But except for one song, they sang every song in the original key. They were able to do this because of Ayssa’s vast vocal range. This makes the album even more special.
Their favorite song on the record is “All I Have To Offer You Is Me” first made famous by Charley Pride but also recorded by George and Tammy. Wayne stated, “We just love their take on it. I guess because it’s more of a lovey-dovey song. It fits us better.”
Wayne Brewer explained, “Me and Alyssa hand-picked every person that plays on this album and that’s why I feel that it’s unique.”
The roster includes some of the hottest musicians in the current country/roots landscape with Pedal Steel Guitarist Nathan Fleming (Charley Crockett), heavy-metal pianist Josh Balz (Motionless In White), fiddler Jenee Flener (Blake Shelton), and Gary & Mason Brewer (The Kentucky Ramblers.)
He continued, “George Jones and Tammy Wynette are unrivaled as the two best country singers of all time and that’s why we wanted to do this. Even though this is a George Jones and Tammy Wynette tribute, it’s different because we let these incredible musicians have their own way with these songs. It’s this supergroup that helped us bring these songs to life for a whole new generation.”
They wrote on their CD liner notes, “We hope you enjoy our debut album. It is our pleasure to love each other in the performances of these songs, and to honor the musical legacy of two of the greatest country singers/entertainers of all time; George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Our goal was to convey these timeless hits with all the love, passion, feeling, and authenticity we have.”
What makes me most happy is the opportunity Alyssa and Wayne had to bring new life to some of the staple songs of the great legends. Hopefully, a new generation will enjoy the tunes as much as their grandparents did. And if we are lucky, it will inspire the pair to cover even more the traditional tunes that created Nashville and formed country music. Well done Alyssa and Wayne!
You can stream A&W Sing George And Tammy here.
– – –