Charlie Worsham Appreciates the Long, Slow Climb
While reality stars, crossover artists or singers trying to mix a new genre with their brand of country music may steal headlines, it's men like Charlie Worsham that will be the backbone of country music for decades to come. Worsham has done it the old-fashioned way. The 'Could It Be' singer's journey has all the drama of a two-hour nap. Piece by piece, show by show, note by note, the Mississippi-born singer-songwriter has put it together.
It began in high school with four-hour gigs across his home state. At the time, he was just a talented instrumentalist, but someone else needed to sing, so he stepped up. The Berklee-trained multi-instrumentalist doesn't come across as your typical frontman -- he's much too humble -- but listen to the songs on his debut album 'Rubberband' and you'll find a man with surprising range and depth. The comparisons to Vince Gill start here.
"With writing I acquired some recording gigs (in high school) and ran out of fiddle tunes to record so I had to create some new material," Worsham tells Taste of Country. "As with everything else, it's just a steady journey for me. The more I do anything, the more confident I get with it."
Not long after moving to Nashville, Worsham joined KingBilly, a country/southern rock group that came close, but never signed a record deal. That lasted for about five years, and along the way the singer made important industry contacts and a few famous friends. Miranda Lambert has been good to him, he says.
Worsham kept his eyes forward, even doing a quasi tour of radio stations before signing with Warner Nashville. You won't find a chip on his shoulder. Optimism and gratitude spill from his lips to the point that he calls 'Young to See' "his protest song against being cynical". If this man ever wins a major country music award, expect a very, very long thank you speech.
"Everything sort of seems to have happened naturally and built slowly," he says. "I get to work with my best friend. I made my record with my best friends and really trust the people around me. And so it's more about trying to remember it all and appreciate every moment."
'Rubberband' is a lot of things but it's not a flashy record. There's no one song that will hit you like John Henry, but many -- like the title track and the lyrically and vocally exquisite ballad 'Mississippi in July' -- creep into your conscious like sippin' whiskey. Worsham says his team pushed him to stretch his comfort zone, thus the title 'Rubberband.'
"I'm not worried about what happens the first week," the 27-year-old says. "I'm just excited that now when I play shows I'll have that CD to be able to get in people's hands. I think the journey of this record is going to be a long one, and a steady one."
Singer Madi Diaz joins Worsham for 'Mississippi in July' and fills in a few spots throughout the rest of the record. The cameo is certainly not the high-profile appearance everyone will be talking about, but her addition to this heartbreaker is essential.
The two were friends from Berklee in Boston. "Her voice breaks my heart, and always has," Worsham shares.
Gill and Marty Stuart join Worsham for 'Tools of the Trade.' While watching these legends record was a treat, talking shop with them afterward was the real reward for the newcomer, who also gets compared to Keith Urban frequently.
"I'm flattered anytime someone has taken enough time to listen to me and make a connection to someone else, honestly. I feel very lucky that a lot of my influences are the ones that people will tweet to me that I remind them of," Worsham says. "Certainly, I've spent many hours shedding all the parts on 'Golden Road.'"
Worsham admits he's not a nervous person, except when he steps up to play the Grand Ole Opry, a stage he first took at age 12. On record release day, he was in New York City doing media, but said he'd find a bar in which to celebrate. He also told he us was looking forward to returning home to Nashville to pick up 'Rubberband' at Ernest Tubb's Record Shop.
When he does something exciting, you can be sure he'll tweet about it. Actually, his BFF/alter-ego/bodyguard (he's either one or all three of these) Chuck Monster will probably have the dirt. That's where you can find the most interesting video and pictures of Worsham. Don't expect a shirtless selfie anytime soonm however -- that's not how men like Worsham make their big splash.