Darryl Worley

Seemingly overnight, Darryl Worley mutated from a crafter of everyman perfection ("Second Wind") to some sort of country moral compass and patriotism policeman.

Seemingly overnight, Darryl Worley mutated from a crafter of everyman perfection ("Second Wind") to some sort of country moral compass and patriotism policeman. That's not always as irritating as it ought to be, particularly when he stays away from making judgment calls. Here, he shows he's got the real stuff, particularly on the Haggard-esque "If I Could Tell the Truth" and describing the put-upon six-pack Jack of "Awful Beautiful Life." Worley is also able to lighten things up to great effect ("I Love Her, She Hates Me," "Was It Good for You"). And when he goes for the heart, he does it with aplomb ("If Something Should Happen," "If It Hadn't Been for Love"). Worley can't resist climbing on his soapbox with "Wake Up America." Still, this is easily the best record, thus far, in his career.—RW