Savannah, Tenn. is a sleepy little town on the banks of the Tennessee River with a population of just a little over 7,000 people. Still, there seems to be a little bit of energy in the town this week, as Darryl Worley — their “hometown boy done good” — will be taking his celebrity all the way to the nation’s capital for one of the biggest events during inauguration week.
“I’ve been doing this stuff so many years,” Worley admits to Billboard, “so I’m not jumping up and down or running up the streets shouting about it, but everyone else seems to be. I’ve been in my hometown for about a day and a half, and there has probably been about a thousand people that have come up to me telling me how proud of me they are,” he says of his participation in the Great American Inaugural Ball held at the MGM National Harbor Hotel on Friday (Jan. 20) night in Washington. The event will honor America’s military and related charities.
Worley believes his name came up for the honor of performing due to his many trips overseas to perform for American troops. “I think that some of the people that we have done work with before and have been connected with because of our service to the military, those folks are very involved in putting together this inaugural ball — the one that is linked more to the military. They contacted my people, and brought the offer to me. I didn’t have to think about it too long. It’s a grand opportunity. It’s very historic. I also believe that it’s a monumental time in our nation. I think that this election might be one of the most important that the United States has ever had. That’s yet to be known, but for us to have the chance to go and perform and be there with the amazing people that represents our military is amazing,” he said, adding that the joy that the invitation has brought to his family also makes him proud. “My wife is beside herself. It gives me so much joy to see her excitement.”
Worley said that he cherishes being a part of history. “We’re in celebration mode — me and my family. We have a lot of hope going into the future with the changes that are coming. As far as the inauguration goes, it’s another unbelievable example of how the incredible men and women of the United States military have landed this huge honor and grand opportunity in my lap. I say that because they inspired me to write the song ‘Have You Forgotten?’ Without that song, I wouldn’t be going to play at the inaugural ball. So, that brings it all full circle. I just feel very blessed to have all of the opportunities that I have to travel to the war zone and play for these men and women, and show all of the support that I could for them and their mission.”
Worley is one of several country artists that will be playing various events in Washington, including John Rich and Toby Keith. Though he has his political beliefs, for the singer, the events of this week transcend politics. “This particular event has nothing to do with politics — for me. I don’t believe that’s why I was asked to do it. I do know where I stand on the issues, but this is to celebrate and honor the military. I think that out of all the inaugural ball, this is where I would feel the most comfortable. I pray that I can stand up there and do or say something that makes them realize how important they are to all of us. I can’t speak for everyone, but we know what their service means to all of us as Americans. If there’s anyone out there who don’t understand that, I would always be happy to give a seminar on that.”
Though it’s been five years since Worley last hit the No. 40 on Hot Country Songs with “You Still Got It,” he says that 2017 looks to be a busy year. “We’ve got several musical projects underway. There really seems to be an urgency and demand for us to finish a couple of them right away, and to begin working on the other stuff, as well. We’ve got a greatest hits project that hopefully will be out by the end of the first quarter, and then we’ve got a Christian record coming out. I’m pretty excited about what this year is shaping out to be. You get to a point in the business where you think that you’re on the way out, and then all of a sudden, there’s a new energy that comes from somewhere. We’re feeling a little bit of that right now, so I’m pretty excited.”