Darryl Worley

by Liza Mitchell
It’s not easy to make the kind of music you want to make as the kind of artist you want to be in an industry that is all the time tugging and pushing you to be something you’re not. As a boy, country singer and songwriter Darryl Worley grew up with a deep respect for country music and wanted someday to be on par with the likes of Merle Haggard and make a living doing it.

So far, so good. Worley is on the road with David Lee Murphy and Bo Bice for the Paintin’ the Town 2012 Tour. The music is great, spirits are high and the crowds are helping to keep the dream alive. The tour pulls into town September 22 for a one night show at the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts in Orange Park (www.thcenter.org/events) Tickets start at $21.

“The music is great and people seem to be loving the show. We’re having a great time,” Worley said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve always said up until now that my favorite person to tour with was Trace Atkins. We had a great time out on the tour that we did several years ago but David Lee is a hoot, man. We get along great and when you throw Bo in the mix, he’s a great singer and a great human being. We’ve enjoyed all of us hanging out together. It’s working like a well-oiled machine.”

Worley is performing music from his newest release “One Time Around” which features the single You Still Got It. But most of the show will focus on his vast catalog of hits including Have You Forgotten,”Dust on the Bottle, I Miss My Friend and Are You Gonna Kiss me or Not.

“We’re playing the hits and we’ve got a lot of ‘em, thank God,” he said. “If you look at a one-hour spot for us, it’s mostly just our hit songs . But we play some of the new stuff that we just finished recording as well. People seem to love the new single and a couple other songs that we’re playing seem to be getting a real good response as well.”

Worley returned to his roots when writing material for “One Time Around,” slowing things down and letting the music happen rather than trying to force it. He steered clear of politics and other hot button themes that may divide his audience. Instead, he set out to make good, old-fashioned country songs that make you want to tap your toes.

“The instrumentation is considerably different. It’s much more organic than anything I’ve done before. It’s more like getting back to where I was before, to the early original stuff that we did, not addressing any polarizing issues of any kind. We’re just trying to make good music with good grooves and stuff that people will enjoy listening to. I didn’t get into this business to be in politics. I just want to enjoy the music,” he said.

“Unfortunately, if you’re a traditionalist and that’s the kind of music that you’re making these days, you’re probably starving to death. We had to try and find a way to fit into the bigger picture. But I think if I do anything going forward, that it will probably be more traditional than the stuff I did this time. That’s the stuff I’m influenced by, Merle Haggard and all of those great country singers and pickers out of that era. I’ve always been around music and I wanted to emulate my heroes. I had a pretty good knack for songwriting and I thought, ‘man, I want to try this.’ And it worked out all right.”