About Dayna’s New CD,
"Look Who’s Back"

May, 2013

In September of 2012 Janet Lynn came for a visit. After listening to some of my original songs in various styles of music, she thought that I should record some of THAT STUFF. My husband Gary has been after me to do the same thing, and so between the two of them I got talked into it.

This CD is dedicated to all the fans, friends, and family who through the years have fed me, given me bed and board, and gas money to make it to the next gig. Without you (and you know who you are) I would not have known the wonderful life I have had. You’re my angels.

I especially want to thank my producer, Janet Lynn. You’re the best!

See Producer’s Liner Notes Jump to Producer's Liner Notes
( If you want to record a great CD, find Janet Lynn! )

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Look Who’s Back Track / Title / About the Songs

Clip

1. You’re Gonna Love Me (Dayna Wills)
Everyone needs an opening number. (I sure hope this works, Barbara!)

2. Once Again (Gary’s Song) (Dayna Wills)
After a breakup, I moved back to Northern California. I took a “day” job as a cocktail waitress, and Gary was the relief bartender. Relief! He was the salve to my soul. After 25 years he still makes me laff.

3. You Can Thank Me (Dayna Wills)
It’s the old story of “If he’ll cheat on me, he’ll cheat on you, duh”.

4. Look Who’s Back (Dayna Wills)
When I had my first teenage heartbreak, my mom said to me, “One day you’ll see him again and you will want to throw rocks at him!” How true. I saw him again and since I didn’t have a rock handy, I wrote this song. (Better to write a song than go to the pokey for battery)

5. That’s All (Alan Brandt – Bob Haymes)
This is one of my fave love songs. I started singing it when sitting in with my friend Dallas Knapp. His arrangement was the inspiration for this recording.

6. Dancing With Cortez (Norma Lee)
My co-writing partner the late Norma Lee loved Mexico. I know that she is hearing this and I hope she likes how we treated her “baby”.

7. You Don’t Know Me (Cindy Walker – Eddie Arnold)
I have always heard this song sung mostly by men who are resigned to their lost love. I’m singing the song for a man who is anything but resigned, he’s desperate. This was my father’s favorite song.

8. The Grade (Dayna Wills)
Outside Las Vegas on I-15 there is the Baker Grade. It didn’t matter if you were in a beater or a Cadillac, in those days few “made the grade” without overheating. I wrote this song about my brother Jim and his wife Barbara, and any other spouse who couldn’t talk their musician out of 9 to 3.

9. Funky Jam (Dayna Wills, George Michael, Michael N. McCavit)
George Michael and Mike McCavit played this as a jam song. I came up with lyrics about my brother Jim Rob McKee, lead guitar player and a member of the Bob Wills Texas Playboys. When I first wrote it I was unaware that Jim was on a live recording with Uncle Bob at Panther Hall in Dallas in 1960. The lyrics used to be “Bob would holler, but I’ll bet you a dollar he wouldn’t let Jim play that Funky Jam, not in his band. After hearing Jim play and sing Chuck Berry’s “Forty Days” I had to rewrite it; “Bob would holler and I’ll bet you a dollar he even let Jim play that Funky Jam in his Texas Playboy Band.” Jim Rob is Uncle Bob’s namesake.

10. If I Don’t See You Again (Dayna Wills)
I wrote this song for Gary when I was leaving on a road trip to Texas. When I was 19 and on my first road gig, I got the call that my father had shot my mother and committed suicide. I know how fast one’s life can change. In case something happened to me out there, I wanted him to know how I feel. The song has since become my “Memorial” song. I have sent it to friends who have suffered the loss of a loved one. I didn’t plan to record it until friends told me how much the song meant to them. After hearing that Vince Gill decided to record “Go Rest High on That Mountain”, I thought “Yes, if the song gives comfort, share it.”

MUSICIANS:
Dayna Wills: Lead Vocals
Floyd Domino: Piano, Tracks 2, 5
Danny Levin: Piano, B3, Fiddle, Cello
Rick "Casper" Rawls: Acoustic Guitar all tracks, Slide Guitar on Track 3
Bobby Whitton: Electric Lead on all tracks and Classical Guitar, Track 6
Rick McRae: Electric Rhythm Guitar on Tracks 1, 5
Bobby and Rick: tradin’ 4’s on solo on Track 1
Evan Arredondo: Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass, Tracks 6, 8
Randy Glines: Electric Bass, Track 4
Barry "Frosty" Smith: Drums
Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff: Saxophone
Janet Lynn: Harmony vocals (Dayna, harmony with Janet on Track 8), percussion, vocal coach

Live tracks recorded at Wire Recording Studio, Austin, Texas.
Mixed by Janet Lynn and Stuart Sullivan at Wire Recording Studio, Austin, Texas.
Engineer: Stuart Sullivan
Producer: Janet Lynn
Mastered by Bill Johnson
Executive Producer: Gary Kelley
Photos: Bob Tilden
Janet Lynn gives special thanks to Danny Levin and Bobby Whitton.

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Producer’s Liner Notes

Everybody who’s heard Dayna Wills sing knows she is a fine singer, true to the Wills’ name. Every time I’ve heard her sing, which is a lot, or we’ve been on stage singing together, I’ve heard something in her voice making me think, there was something more, and I wanted to hear more of whatever “it” was. And most of those times we’ve been on stage with a 13-piece western swing band. After a visit with Dayna and hubby, Gary, in California, and being the Gal Pals that we are when we get together, we don’t sleep til the wee hours because we have to catch up on everything in our lives. In this case, we were staying up late looking at old pictures (boy did she have the gams) and music of her youth (she had the voice back then). I heard her sing blues, jazz, and rockin’ material that just blew me away. So we had one of those come to Jesus talks while I explained that while her family roots are firmly planted in Western Swing, her Uncle Bob would want her to be true to herself and record a project that shows all what she can really do. After I returned home, she started sending me more and more old recordings, where I heard her original songs and more of her voice with less instrumentation, and I loved it even more. Between Gary and me, and a lot of late night discussions of her wondering “if this project is the right thing,” here is the end result.

Most of the songs on this CD are written by Dayna, which shows she is more than a singer and a great live performer. Her songs show the transparent Dayna, whether it be sassy, sad, loving, sensitive, or the deeper side that one rarely gets to see. As discussions became more serious on this project, and I knew in my heart, I was the one to step up and produce this project for her. I “got” her – I “get” her. I had to remove my “Gal Pal” hat and put on the “Producer” hat. Our relationship was about to take a big step into deeper waters of trust, mostly meaning she would need to trust me with her babies (songs) and that I would have her back in the studio like no one ever had. As a singer/musician, I truly understood her position of a singer/songwriter and the need to feel heard in the studio, and making that connection of musical interpretation. As producer, I knew it was my place to have her back even if it meant she did not like a decision I made – a tough place for a Gal Pal to be. We started our journey with this understanding that I would make her babies pretty, not call them ugly, keep all her wishes in mind as the artist, but I still had to remain objective with her best professional interest at heart. So we had an agreement. We succeeded with a few bumps until she realized I truly did get her and I really did have her back. Then she “got me” and we are closer for it.

My goal was for Dayna to be heard as no one had heard her sing before. I believe that goal has been achieved. Dayna has one of the most natural gifts of phrasing I’ve ever heard. She has a smooth womanly voice, with great tonality and her pitch is right on. When you first hear her sing, you might say she’s an alto, but her range is so much more as she bridges her registers effortlessly with amazing vocal control, singing soulfully with a sultry and bluesy sound—and all the time her range and tonality are present. She has a quality timbre in her voice – she can make you laugh or cry with her inflections, emotions, attitude, playfulness, showing all of her versatility (not to mention the songs she’s written). There are times you hear a certain vocal resonance and vibrato, a tender softness, or complete clarity or the bluesy rasp when she starts throwing it down. My goal was to make sure we could all hear the little nuances, inflections, lows and highs in her voice and what a voice it is. Dayna can make you believe you are hearing a cover song for the very first time. She is a true song stylist. She interprets any lyric unlike anyone else which makes her a genuine, authentic, original, true artist. No doubt, when you listen to this CD, whether you’ve heard them or not, all the songs have been sung, all the notes have been hit, and there is nothing else left to sing, because she’s done it all. This is Dayna Wills like you’ve never heard and she is awesome.

It’s been my honor, privilege, and labor of love to produce this project, to work with my friend in an entirely different professional environment. And I would be remiss if I did not mention what a blast, pleasure and wonderful professional experience it was to work with these truly gifted and seasoned musicians. I can only take credit for hiring them. To watch them create, to give little guidance, because when you hire the right players, you let them do what they do best – well, that is the art to making great music. I promised Dayna this project would be about her vocals, I would hire the best engineer and very best pickers available, they would create a safe environment for her to sing, just like a cradle for her babies, all she had to do is focus on singing, and I would always have her back. I did, they did, and she did. I cannot say enough about the musicians. I thank them for their amazing knowledge, God-given talent, how they use it, and going the extra mile. This project is a result of a team effort. Everyone played or sang their part 110%. I truly thank everyone involved. And ‘Look Who’s Back!’

Definition of Gal Pal or What is a Gal Pal?: A female friend whom you can call 24/7, share all, laugh, cry, cuss, bitch & moan, and drink together, if necessary – you hold back nothing from one another, the one who gets that 2am phone call, the one who has your back, fixes each other’s hair, and in emergencies, share PJs on the road—and one who loves your dog almost as much as you do. In music, you love singing together, but shows no mercy if the song is not in your key because you strive to push the other one and smile when they push back. There is no ego between you, only sisterly love.

Janet Lynn, Producer
Austin, Texas