There are many things that Darryl Worley has come to know in his 15-year career in country music. One of those things is how to recognize a hit song, scoring nearly 20 hit singles and three chart-topping hits with the self-penned “Awful, Beautiful Life” and the poignant “Have You Forgotten,” which spent an astonishing seven weeks at No. 1 as well as “I Miss My Friend” which came to him via a songwriter friends in Nashville. He also recognizes the importance of giving back every opportunity that he can through his annual charities that has funded organizations such as the Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center in Savannah, Tenn.
“We've managed to do a lot by the grace of God over the past 15 years,” notes Worley. “We're having the biggest years of fundraising now just because we've learned how to do it. It's just a very positive thing that we've been able to accomplish.”
Next up on the charitable future for the singer-songwriter is breaking ground on a wellness center geared toward assisting youth battling abuse of drugs and alcohol. “It's a labor intensive job, but it is a labor of love when you have a chance to really see how it affects human beings,” he says softly. “We've saved lives, and that's what it's all about.”
While he takes pride in making a difference in the lives of those around him, Worley also has spent much of his career giving back to the men and women overseas doing their job to keep his family and our country safe. Following the tragic events of 9/11, Worley penned the heartfelt “Have You Forgotten,” which became the biggest hit of his career. The song remains one of the most anticipated highlights in his live shows, especially when visiting the U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has become a yearly tradition for Worley.
“It is a very difficult thing that our people have been through overseas during the past several years,” Worley says, his eyes glazing over with tears. “They just never give in or give up. It's amazing.”
With 2015 marking the 14-year anniversary of 9/11, Worley has released a powerful new combo pack DVD/CD titled Music & Memories, documenting his many trips overseas to entertain the men and women in uniform. The touching tribute to our troops gives a real look inside the active war zones, which Worley has been piecing together for the past four years.
“We wanted to do something to be uplifting for our troops and really shine a positive light on what they do,” Worley explains. “It does that in a big way. It is real and it is raw. There's so much on that DVD that regular civilians would never see.
“There are some funny moments on there as well,” he adds. “You will laugh your butt off, but you will also cry. The reality of what we have seen and experienced is heavy, so some of that will get to you because it is so real.”
In addition to the DVD portion of Music & Memories, fans will also be treated to a 7-song collection, which includes a revisited bluegrass-infused rendition of “Have You Forgotten,” and new songs “In my Book”, “The Bad Guys”, “Things That I Can’t See”, and “Unsung Heroes.”
“We initially released the music as a free download for the military, but we wanted to get it in the hands of the fan base as well,” says Worley. “So far, the response has been exactly what we were hoping for when we decided to create this project. I think it's one of the coolest things I've ever done. I am just really, really proud of this.”
And if that wasn't enough to keep Worley busy, he also has a handful of other musical projects in the works, including the upcoming release of a Greatest Hits that will feature his three chart-topping hits, as well as tunes like "A Good Day to Run," "Second Wind," "Sounds Like Life to Me" and "I Just Came Back From a War." Besides the hits, Worley also has plans to include a few never before heard songs that will segue into a new collection of music further down the road.
“I am just in a really good place in my life and my career,” Worley says, as a smile spreads across his face. “I have been so blessed throughout my career. I have seen so much and experienced so much that I will never take for granted. I'm definitely not done yet. There is a lot more to come from me in the future. It feels good to start stirring it all up again. I'm ready to get back out there!”