"I was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease. I had several operations on my eyes and wound up with a lot of down time - I had to have something to do," said Randy Payne of Chaffee. "The last two or three years I've been just writing and playing music."
Wednesday, the fruit of his labor - his first recorded song so far - was played by KWKZ 106.1. "I gave them a pre-release copy," said Payne.
In addition to playing Payne's song for the first time on the air, Payne was also featured in an on-air interview during the station's all-request lunch program.
"It's a ballad. The title of the song is, 'Momma Can You Tell Me Why the Cowboy Rides Away,'" Payne said.
The song is about the questions an 8-year old boy has about a traveling guitar-playing cowboy who offers to do some work around the farm in exchange for a place to stay for the night.
"I actually sat down and wrote the words to this one in about 30 minutes time," Payne said. "I started it about six months ago, but it took some time to get the music down. I'd start to write one song and another song would come up, so I'm working on my first album but this is the only one I have down in the studio."
Although he doesn't have a name picked out for the album yet, Payne said he now has seven songs completed and ready to record with others in the works.
While he has played music most of his life, writing is something new for Payne. "It seems to come pretty easy to me. It's just something I never tried before."
Payne started playing guitar at age 12. "I played for a gospel group on KYMO when I was 13 a few times," he recalled. He also played at churches, clubs and the Little Opry Company at Jackson, but it was always more of a hobby than a career as a musician. "Kind of a hobby that's turned into a little more," Payne said.
"I've got a couple guys I pick with now occasionally," Payne said. "Mike Huey played guitar leads on this one. I'm also working with Kevin Glueck out of Sikeston. He plays lead guitar also, and mandolin and lap steel."
Payne has resided in Chaffee since returning in 1990 from Louisiana where he operated a body shop.
"I was born in Michigan, but I was raised in Sikeston. We moved to Sikeston when I was four," Payne said. "I graduated from Sikeston in '72."
Payne then moved to Chaffee for the first time in 1976 where he lived until moving to Louisiana in the early '80s.