Roughstock.com

Independent Lens: Darryl Worley's Tenacity proves He's "Still Got It"

By: Matt Bjorke

Last Updated: March 26, 2012 12:03 PM

Throughout his career, Darryl Worley has experienced the ups and downs that are often associated with a music career but it seems that with each album he records, he is able to find success at country radio. Now well into the second decade of his career, Darryl has teamed up with new label Tenacity Records (his fifth label after DreamWorks, Mercury, 903 Records and, most recently, Stroudavarious Records) to get his new single "You Still Got It" (Click To Listen Here) out to radio and up the charts. In this exclusive interview we discuss his career and the new record deal, his enlightening tours performing with the troops and how country songs take him right back to a memory. 

 

Matt Bjorke: In a fickle industry you've been able to survive for well over a decade… What has been the key to you being able to survive so long?

Darryl Worley: Absolutely, I try to explain that to people that I talk to, friends and people that have completely different lives than what we get to live because there's no guarantees with it being here one day and gone the next, but all in all I get to do what I love to do. 

And I believe that music is the key to all of it. I think that we've consistently been able to bring good songs and some of them were bigger hits than I thought they'd be and I think there's been a few that should've been bigger hits than they were but…

 

Matt: …that's not anything you can control…

 

Darryl: Yeah, so I don't sweat that part of it. But I think we've consistently brought good music and I've definitely worked hard. And the folks out at radio don't have any problems with Darryl Worley, so that's been a real positive thing. And it's been cool to be able to go out and see those folks, because they're supportive again with this new single and, I believe that "You Still Got It" is gonna be a hit for all of us.

 

Matt: Yeah, I was going to mention that song next. And I think that it's slightly different than songs that you have been known for in the past…


Darryl: It definitely is and we did that intentionally… I should start by saying that, for me, every song on my new project [for Tenacity Records] could be a single and I've never been able to say that, in all honesty. There's always been something that's a little weird or just for fun and thats' good but with this one, we even went back and got a couple songs that we brought forward, songs that we thought got lost in the shuffle, and joined them with eight or nine new things. We also went and got a couple songs from the last project that never really came out…

 

Matt: The EP that featured "Keep The Change?"


Darryl: Yeah, the stroudavarious EP For God and Country. It has a song called "In My Book" that we brought forward and "Things That I Cannot See" that we brought forward. So this is a strong, strong collection of songs. And "You Still Got It" was sort of unanimous through the promotion team. They said 'we'd like to take something to radio that's up, that's positive and feels and sounds good.' And it does have that vibe, a boardwalk, South Carolina-shag feel to it…

 

Matt: Kinda like Chris Young's "Gettin' You Home" song, it has a laid-back groove to it…


Darryl: Yeah, it is sort of like that. And my co-writer had a chorus when I went to write with him and I said, 'man, that sounds like an undeniable hit.' It ain't rocket science and you know, for me this will be good. If this works and we have a big hit, it'll be good because I'll have lightened up a bit. It's not rocket science. 

 

Matt: Yeah because people think of you as the guy who sings about wars or the military…

Darryl: Or even the heavier stuff, songs that all have to have a message or substance.  This song is what it is with the message "You still got it, baby and I still want it." It ain't rocket science…

 

Matt: And the fans, they must really be liking the song already…


Darryl: Yes, we have been playing it in the live shows and it's just been fun getting it out there...

 

Matt: You, perhaps more than any of your contemporaries, has been through the label 'wringer' so to speak through the years. What made Tenacity the right label for you?


Darryl: I think coming into Nashville with funding, having that part already in place, made it  completely different ballgame. So that we could take meetings with everybody and anybody we wanted to talk to and then sit down and say, if we had our way with this, who makes the most sense. We talked with a lot of people. And Mike Kraski [president/CEO of Tenacity Records] sat down and spoke with me very candidly and said the things I wanted to hear. So I knew going in, something I've never felt before, that I'm gonna always be able to count on them to be very up front and to not keep silly little things from me. You know, we need to operate like a business. For whatever reason, in this town it's so difficult in this town to find a group of record label executives to sit across a table from you and be very honest about things…For whatever reason, I don't know if it's an old school mentality, that they feel like they need to keep little things from you…

 

Matt: I've heard there are only a few of them…


Darryl: That's what I'm saying, so when I talked to him, I looked at my manager, I said that this is a no-brainer. So we'll all sit down together and make the decisions together, like saying 'this is where this money is going to be spent.' That's what I've always asked that people do.And I've had some good experiences in a couple situations and over at 903 Records, that was a good situation. In fact, that thing went south without us even knowing what was happening…

 

Matt: yeah and the artist-owned label (it was started/owned by Neal McCoy) is always hard, along with the costs of promoting…


Darryl: Yes, that's why I'm thankful that I've got my manager [Rendy Lovelady] and Mike Kraski working with us. Those two guys broke Little Big Town the first time so it's a comfortable place to be and exactly what we were looking for. I also love the fact that he'll call me up and say "D, you didn't do the right thing here and we can't have you do that again." 

Matt: You've Been A Part of USO Tours throughout your career. How much does it mean to you to to be able to go and perform for the troops?

Darryl: It's probably the best thing that I do, right along with the foundation that I represent for in my home town. It's right up there with that, if not higher than that. It's a blessing, such a huge personal blessing to go back and give back to these people that fight to protect our freedom and way of life. I've got a lot of family that are or were in the military so it's a natural progression for me but it's still; I'm in awe of all the cool opportunities to go and say thanks to those people for all they do.

 

Matt: And what's really cool is that they so appreciate everything, even if they don't necessarily like country music or whatever artist is performing, because it's an hour or whatever break from the harshness that war brings...


Darryl: Yeah, it's an amazing thing and it took me a few years to realize what, if anything we're accomplishing by going and we've been to the front lines where there fighting and I sometimes thought, 'what are we doing here, I hope we're not in the way and distracting somebody from doing their job' after seeing all that was going on around there. It's serious business and come to find out, there's really a reason for us being there, to help them with their morale. They're so committed so, you're right, they do appreciate anyone who comes around to see them.

 

Matt: Yeah, and you know comedienne Kathy Griffin, who is pretty polarizing as a comedian and more popular among gay and female audiences than mainstream or perceived military audiences. She may talk about pop culture most of the time but she tweaked her set for the troops. She said the same things about going and they loved her too…


Darryl: Yeah and Al Franken does the same thing. I remember going on that first trip with him, I thought "oh, this could be a disaster," because I just knew what I knew of him. Well, first of all, he's an incredible person and a brilliant man. What I witnessed out of him on those trips together was a man who is just as passionate about those folks over there as I am and went out all night with me to visit people all night long. And I guess he taught me a lesson, you don't have to necessarily agree with the war or the mission to still go out and support the troops there. And I gotta say that I didn't have that all figured out but he showed me.

 

Matt: What song, if any, stands out the most to you among the many songs you've recorded in your career?


Darryl: I've always had a hard time with questions with these because mid-thought I'll sometimes remember another #1 hit or things like that that come to mind. But I'd have to give an honorable mention to "Have You Forgetten" because without it I might not still be able to do this. But, the song that has come to mind the most is "Awful, Beautiful Life," a song which has gotten more recurrent airplay than even "Have You Forgotten" because it covers even more parts of life. It also throws a little more revenue my way (laughs)…

 

Matt: That's always good…(laughs)

Matt: What one word best describes country music to you?


Darryl: Reminiscent. I say that word because, probably the reason I fell in love with country music is that it brings back so many thoughts and moments in my life. I live through a country song. I'll compare it to fragrances because I can catch a whiff of a something and it will bring me right back there. And a country song can do that.

 

Matt: I can relate to the scent analogy...


Darryl: Yeah, and you know, When we had finished my first album, "Hard Rain Don't Last," I smelled a scent that reminded me of the woman that most of that album was written about, my Ex. It was her perfume and it brought me back (snaps fingers) to a memory with her (laughs). And that's exactly what a country song does for me, I'll hear a song and it'll take me right to a memory from my life.

 

 

 

 

Click here to get daily updates from Roughstock.