Music stardom takes back seat to family life
With a nod to country legends Merle Haggard and George Jones, Darryl Worley has made quite a name for himself on the Nashville music scene.
Now, after a self-imposed exile from the music industry to focus on his family, Worley is back in action.
Worley will headline Saturday’s Farm-City Days Summer Concert at Riverside Park, along with country music up-and-comer Dillon Carmichael.
Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. show sell for $28 apiece and are available at farmcitydays.com, or at Jump Start in Iola.
Born in Memphis, Worley grew up the son of a Methodist preacher, while his mother served as a church choir director.
He cut his teeth at the aptly titled FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama — a studio that housed music icons of all stripes, ranging from Mac Davis, Jerry Reed and Duane Allmon to the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and the Osmonds.
Worley stayed there for several years, honing his craft with weekly shows across the Southeast, before moving on to Nashville, to great success.
Worley’s 1999 debut album, “Hard Rain Don’t Last,” produced three top-20 country music hits.
The title track from his 2002 album, “I Miss My Friend,” became his first number-one song.
Worley had his biggest hit a year later with “Have You Forgotten” a 9/11 tribute ballad, which stayed at the top of the country music charts for nearly two months.
The hits continued with his next CD, “Darryl Worley,” which produced his third chart-topping single, “Awful, Beautiful Life” in 2005.
Two follow-up albums also placed several tunes in the top of the charts, before Worley drastically cut back on his musical pursuits with the birth of his daughter in 2008.
“I needed to take some time to figure out what being a daddy meant,” Worley said on his website, darrylworley.com, “and it meant a whole lot more than what I thought.”
He didn’t cut the music entirely, focusing on smaller projects, as well as performing at USO shows for the military around the world.
The hunger to produce returned, and after an eight-year layoff, Worley went back to the studio to record “Second Wind,” which has brought him back into the public eye.
Still, he said, the music, his family and community remain his top priority.
“I’ve already had the fame and it almost killed me,” Worley said on his website. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been really big on that, but I have been big on wanting the music to shine. It does the work, it ought to get the credit.”
CARMICHAEL comes from a musical family. His uncles are 1990s hitmaker John Michael Montgomery and Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry.
Carmichael has already shown considerable musical chops of his own, earning his first songwriting contract offer at the age of 17.
His 2018 debut album “Hell On An Angel” has produced hits such as “That’s What Hank Would Do” and “It’s Simple.”