His audition: Craig Wayne Boyd, 35, of Nashville, Tenn., auditioned with Travis Tritt’s “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’.” His big voice and country-rock vibe prompted chair turns from Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams. Pharrell liked the original touches he added to the song. Blake liked the edge in his performance. Craig Wayne opted to join Team Blake.
His background: Craig Wayne says he always knew he wanted to play music. After high school, he honed his skills in local rock bands in Texas. But he says all his friends told him he had too much twang in his voice to be a rocker, so he headed off to Nashville. He’s now been a full-time musician for more than 11 years “and busted my head against the wall and gotten so close, and it’s been right there for me to grab and yet circumstances have cause those things to not happen.” Now he’s hoping to kickstart his career in part because of his 2-year-old son, Jackson Wayne. “He’s my little rock star,” Craig Wayne said.
What the show didn’t show: The former rocker and current country rebel actually got his start in church and, at one point, served as a church choir director, according to his Facebook bio. In a conference call with the media, Craig Wayne explained that he grew up in a Pentecostal home and a spirit church. The biggest musical lesson from the experience: “You just put every bit of your heart and your soul” into what you sing. He later became a touring musician and worked in Nashville as a songwriter. He’s also opened for the likes of Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser and Brantley Gilbert. Want to hear some Craig Wayne Boyd music? Well, you’re not restricted to covers. He released a self-titled album in 2010 and a 13-track CD in 2013 called “I Ain’t a Quitter.” Two fine tracks from the latter are embedded below. One of the best songs on the album is “Country Kind of Things,” which features vocals from former Voice contestant Shauna P. In his Voice video, Craig Wayne says he’s had his ups and downs in Nashville and is hoping The Voice is the vehicle that can help make the big time. “Up until this past year, I was playing 240 dates a year, all over the country, traveling around in a 15-passenger van with five other sweaty dudes. I’ve been back and forth (in country music), almost to the top, seeing it, but not being able to grasp it.” He says his music is a mix of the gospel and bluegrass influences he grew up with.
Blind audition: Turned a pair of chairs singing Travis Tritt’s “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’.”
Battle round: Lost to James David Carter, but was so impressive performing “Wave on Wave” that he was stolen by Gwen Stefani.
Knockout round: Lost to Anita Antoinette, but sang the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See” so well he was stolen back by Blake Shelton.
Live playoffs: He sang Grand Funk Railroad’s “Some Kind of Wonderful.” His cover hit number 59 on the iTunes singles chart and number seven on the site’s country chart. He was voted into the finals.
Top 12: He sang George Strait’s “You Look So Good in Love.” The song hit number 11 on the iTunes overall chart and number one on the site’s country singles chart. He was voted into the Top 10.
Top 10: He sang Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” and scored another number one country hit on iTunes. The song landed at number six overall, earning him bonus points toward the finale. He was voted into the Top 8.
Top 8: He sang the Eagles’ “Take It Easy.” It marked his third straight Voice single to land at number one on the iTunes country chart. The song hit number 12 on the site’s overall chart. Craig Wayne was voted into the Top 5.
Top 5: He scored the biggest iTunes hit of the week with “The Rugged Old Cross,” which finished at number two on iTunes. He landed at number 23 on iTunes with “Workin’ Man Blues.”
The finals: His new single, “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face,” landed at number two on iTunes (bested only by Matt McAndrew’s single) and number one on the country chart. His cover of “In Pictures” landed at number 13 on iTunes; and his “Boots On” duet with Blake Shelton wound up at number 16. They were number two and number three, respectively, on iTunes country chart, giving Craig the top three spots on that chart when voting ended. He was crowned the Season 7 champ.
On iTunes: The aforementioned releases and his Voice performances.
“Learning to Dance” (from his 2013 album)
“Blood, Sweat and Beeer” (from his 2013 album)
“Old Rugged Cross” (cover)