1 August, 2018 – 3 August, 2018See Tour Schedule >
Country music artist Darryl Worley’s six albums have produced 18 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including three Number Ones: “I Miss My Friend”, “Have You Forgotten?”, and “Awful, Beautiful Life”, from 2002, 2003 and 2004–2005, respectively. “Have You Forgotten?” spent seven weeks at Number One. Nine other singles have reached the Top 40. This is Worley’s fifth tour with Armed Forces Entertainment since 2013.
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The rich, reedy tones and all-American, blue-collar themes in his #1 hits “I Miss My Friend,” “Awful, Beautiful Life” and “Have You Forgotten?” are reminders of the down-to-Earth, Haggard-like Darryl Worley you always knew. The island vibes and blue-eyed soul in new songs “It’s Good To Be Me,” “Lay It On Me” and “Lonely Alone” suggest there’s another, almost-funky, version of Worley that’s been kept under wraps. The alternate sides are both on display in Second Wind: Latest and Greatest, a project that mixes the traditional-country history he established in Nashville with the ragged soul that’s deep in the bones of Muscle Shoals, a musical Alabama hotbed where Worley got his start. The area hosted hit sessions for Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, Wilson Pickett and The Rolling Stones, and the sweaty swagger of the region’s recording studios was a perfect fit for Worley as he recorded an album that re-establishes him in country culture.
Second Wind is aptly titled, since it’s the first full-length album released by Worley in eight years, following a self-imposed layoff from recording. Worley’s wife, Kimberly, gave birth to a girl in 2008, and the weight of the father-daughter relationship was greater than anything he’d anticipated. He cut back on his touring and limited his studio work to small, focused releases, including an EP that was targeted to his passionate military supporters. He made daughter Savannah his top priority. That was an easy decision, but it dredged up uncertainty about what that might mean for his music career.
Born and raised in southern Tennessee by a Methodist minister and a church-choir mom he describes as a “prayer warrior,” Worley started his musical career at the FAME Studio in Muscle Shoals, under the tutelage of producer/publisher Rick Hall (Mac Davis, Jerry Reed), where he remained for a solid five years. He played clubs almost nightly, honing his stage craft at the same time he was woodshedding his songwriting skills, and as Worley gained confidence, he found his way to Nashville. There, he secured a recording deal in 1999 on the basis of some demo recordings that showcased his authoritative vocals and his understanding of the hard-working country audience.
He discovered, however, that the music business didn’t share the depth of his passion for that old-school sound. Numerous voices in Nashville were pushing him to sing more contemporary songs and to co-write more often with well-known composers. The songs from the demo that got him signed were tossed in favor of other material that may have fit the trends, but didn’t quite suit him. So Worley put his foot down.
“No” proved to be a powerful word. The powers that be came after him, relented on their creative demands and – lo and behold – several of those songs from the demo ended up becoming his first hits. His inaugural album landed three Top 20 titles – “When You Need My Love,” “A Good Day To Run” and “Second Wind” – and his second album’s namesake, “I Miss My Friend,” brought his first #1 single.
A USO trip would provide a blockbuster. Worley visited Kuwait and Afghanistan during the Christmas season of 2002, and he was inspired by the dedication and sacrifice of soldiers who put their lives on the line for their beliefs. Shortly after his return, he co-wrote “Have You Forgotten?” with Wynn Varble practically demanding that America keep its focus in its battle against terrorists. The song spent seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard country singles chart, one of only five titles to reign that long during the 21st century’s first decade.
That key period in Worley’s career impacted his sense of community and the role that music can play in bolstering the mindset of his audience. He’s continued to perform for troops since that initial trip, going on more than 15 USO tours, sometimes losing money in the process to show his appreciation to his fellow patriots. Additionally, he established the Tennessee River Run, an annual multi-day event in Savannah, Tennessee, that brings in money for the Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center, a facility that offers assistance in a region that was previously unserved. He’s enlisted friends such as Ronnie Milsap, Tracy Lawrence, Lee Brice, Craig Morgan, Diamond Rio and Charlie Daniels to play the River Run through the years, typically raising more than $100,000 annually for local charities.
Worley has clearly made a difference in his neighborhood, using his celebrity to improve the lives of the people around him. It’s the same goal he’s applied to his music, whether it’s honoring soldiers in “Have You Forgotten?” seeking positivity in “Awful, Beautiful Life” or celebrating responsibility in “Family Tree.” Those messages are all present in the Greatest portion of Second Wind, and the Latest songs continue the pattern. “It’s Good To Be Me” locates the elusive silver lining in life, “Runnin’” finds meaning in obsessive activity and “Lonely Alone” encourages honesty in times of personal hardship.
In the end, Second Wind signals Worley’s return to the national stage after a period of recommitment in his home life. The new music puts an unexpected sonic spin on a familiar voice while reaffirming the uplifting intent that continues unabated throughout his entire body of material. Worley’s always been prepared to walk away if the songs didn’t make a difference, and Second Wind is an apt summation of the values and authenticity that have driven his entire career.