He said he’s excited to do the show in Wilson County because, “I’ve lived in the Mt. Juliet and Lebanon area for a number of years, and to do a show at home is really special.”
Worley returned Thursday from a trip to South Korea, where he played for U.S. military members at four different military camps.
“It was around the Fourth of July, and that was great to celebrate the Fourth with the military,” he said. “I have a good relationship with them, and they know it. We had incredible turnouts, and I think the troops were grateful for us for coming. It was a really good time.”
Worley said he enjoys performing for military units because both he and his wife have military personnel in their families.
“I grew up in the midst of it all,” he said. “I think going to visit them in a war zone is my way of giving back and saying thanks. I think all of us could do a little more to lift them up and support them.”
Worley will travel to Iraq again soon. He has gone about 14 times in the past 15 years. He said he enjoys it, but admits he’s nervous sometimes “when we are in precarious situations.”
He also performed in Honduras.
Another trip to Fiji inspired the song, “Rainmaker,” which is his latest single.
“I was trapped in Fiji in February when Cyclone Winston hit the island,” he said. “You can download it now, and a portion of the funds go back to Fiji to help the people through disaster relief.”
At Saturday’s show, he said he will sing “all the songs the people know and want to hear, but also new music, as well. That’s what’s going to be on my next album, which is volume one of my greatest hits.”
Worley said he likes to perform in Wilson County for a number of reasons, especially because it’s his way of “participating and being part of the community.”
“I’m never tired of shaking their hands, giving autographs or taking pictures,” he said. “I think that someone who does what I do and doesn’t want recognition is out of their mind. That’s what we work for. Not to mention the people we’re shaking hands with and singing autographs for pay our bills.”
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.
“We’ve managed to do a lot by the grace of God over that past 15 years,” said 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.”
With 2015 marking the 14-year anniversary of Sept. 11, Worley released a combo pack DVD/CD titled “Music and Memories,” documenting his many trips oversees to entertain the military. The tribute to the troops gives a real look inside the active war zones. Worley has been piecing the footage and music 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,” he said. “It does that in a big way. It’s real and raw. There’s so much on that DVD that regular civilians would never see.”
There are some funny moments on there as well, he said.
“You will laugh your butt off, but you will also cry,” he said. “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 and Memories,” fans also get to listen to a seven-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.”
If that wasn’t enough to keep Worley busy, he also has a handful of other musical projects in the works, including a greatest hits record 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 plans to include a few never-before-heard songs that will segue into a new collection of music down the road.
“I am just in a really good place in my life and career,” Worley said. “I’ve been so blessed throughout my career. I have seen so much and experienced so much that I will never take it for granted. I’m definitely not done yet. There’s a lot more to come from me in the future. It feels good to start stirring it up again. I’m ready to get back out there.”
With his travels around the world, Worley has a personal reason to be home as much as possible. That’s because of his wife and 8-year-old daughter. He said the band is “all tuned up and ready to go.” He tours about 100 days a year now, but likes the local shows a lot because he gets to sleep in his own bed.
“Being a husband and father sure has changed things,” he said.
Worley’s six current albums have produced 18 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including three No. 1s: “I Miss My Friend”, “Have You Forgotten?”, and “Awful, Beautiful Life.”
“Have You Forgotten?” spent seven weeks at No. 1. It is about the people who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Nine other Worley singles have reached the Top 40.
Mt. Juliet resident Ashley Briggs will open for Worley on Saturday night. Briggs, originally from Florida, moved with her family to Middle Tennessee last Thanksgiving.
She will open for Worley because she is one of two winners in the recent Bates Ford Talent Search, which was broadcast live on WSM AM radio. After the May competition, she had made the top 12 of contestants.
She said she was “very excited because that meant that I would be able to sing one of my own songs on the radio [for the final competition in June]. That was the coolest part. It confirmed that I did the right thing by moving here.”
After the June 25 competition, it was announced she would open for Worley.
Saturday’s concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 each and may be purchased at capitoltheatretn.com.