Musician likes keeping old tunes alive

By Don McAlavy: Local columnist

He began playing music for cowboy dances at age 12. Oh, I forgot, I’m talking about Wayne Crume, who was born in 1924 in Kenna.

Wayne’s mother, Helen Crume, was an accomplished piano player, and she tried to teach Wayne to play piano, but she finally gave up and let him play his own way.

He can’t read a note of music, but he learned many old songs, when he was 6 years of age, by listening to his mother play. He also plays the guitar, sometimes playing the French harp along with his guitar.

A cowboy friend from Kenna taught Wayne three chords on the guitar. He kept practicing, and his first tune was “Home of the Range.” He writes his own songs, and then sets them to music.

He even “dreams” the words to a song, many times. He has written about a friend, a pet, relative or something that inspires him.

One beautiful song, which is a favorite of his many fans, is his “New Mexico” song. It should be appropriate for our state song.

Wayne plays quite a variety, from cowboy ballads to Mexican tunes to popular songs from the ‘30s and ‘40s. He says he likes to keep the old tunes alive.

He has played at restaurants, bars, dances, churches, funerals and private dinner parties. He says he can play all night and never play the same tune twice.

In Clovis he has played at the Holiday Inn and R & F Cafe, at the Clovis stockyards.

Wayne joined the Army during World War II, serving as a gunner on a tank under Gen. Patton’s leadership. He was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, and spent several weeks in an Army hospital. There he met some great musicians.

While playing and practicing with them, he developed his own keyboard skills.

People of all ages enjoy Wayne’s music. Some prefer his piano playing, while others enjoy his singing while strumming the guitar.

Wayne is definitely an entertainer. He can sing while playing the piano or guitar. He makes us happy with his music.

Wayne now lives in Portales with his wife, Carol. They have one son, Carson, who lives in Iowa Park, Texas. Two granddaughters live in Germany.

I need to report that another Crume in the family is Thelma Crume (Green), who married my wife Kathy’s father, Ridgley Whiteman. They got married in Albuquerque. The Crumes are great people!