Show Reviews

Show Review: Darryl Worley plays Mt. Juliet's 50th Anniversary




Saturday July 17, 2022

@ Charlie Daniels Park in Mt. Juliet, TN

(Review by: Jeffrey Kurtis)

50 years. Half a century! That’s a birthday milestone that’s cause for celebration, and that’s exactly what the city of Mt. Juliet did this past Saturday on the grounds of Charlie Daniels Park with their “Celebrate Mt. Juliet 50th Anniversary!” presented by Volunteer State Bank.

From being mostly farmland to becoming one of middle Tennessee’s fastest growing cities, Mt. Juliet has seen its fair share of change over the past 50 years, but there was still something so innocent and nostalgic about this birthday bash that it had many of us recalling the simpler times of our childhood as we were transported back in time to the everybody knows everyone feel of small-town USA.

Local eateries parked their food trucks around the perimeter of the main stage area, enticing the hungry passersby as the backyard barbeque aromas of burger’s cooking at M.L. Rose smashed into the unmistakable, mouth-watering flavors of Tatercakes frying up their delicious potato creations, while Titanberry cobbler - provided by The Tennessee Cobbler Co. - outlined the mouths of those looking to cure their sweet tooth as many others cooled off the humid night with an icy treat from Kona Ice.

Littler kids avoided the heat by jumping and running through Ava’s splash pad after slamming into one another inside the countless inflatables or playing in the nearby playground, while the classic car show pulled the dad’s over to it as they told stories of their youth and mom’s and younger couples came together to enjoy the wine tasting.

However, as the music started from local opening acts Cheri Hefner and the Cedar Creek Boys, groups of families, friends, and soon to be friends (affectionately referred to as the strangers you just hadn’t met yet) made their way to the stage front, scoping out the best spot to place their blankets and lawn chairs while singing along with their favorite classic rock and country cover songs as the sun set over the amphitheater stage providing the countdown to headliner Darryl Worley.

“Hello Mt. Juliet!” Worley exclaimed with a wave to the crowd as he took the stage while they roared back with enthusiasm. “We’ve got a good crowd out there tonight boys,” Worley said to his backing band, “The Krew,” as they opened with “Callin’ Caroline,” immediately getting shoulders bouncing along as toes tapped against the grass while traveling back to his I Miss My Friend album to kick things off.

“I love this place,” Worley said with a nod of thank you to the mostly local crowd. “Mt. Juliet is such a wonderful town with so many great people,” he stated as he brought his pastor to the stage, who he had seen milling about the crowd earlier, to offer a public prayer over the people on hand for the event, the city itself, and the entire evening’s festivities.

“Here’s one that I’ll bet y’all will remember,” Worley teased as he played “A Good Day to Run” followed quickly with a sky rattling clap along during “Livin’ in the Here and Now.”

“That last song title…livin’ in the here and now…was my mom’s philosophy on life and she would be all smiles right now knowing that we’re here celebrating 50 years of Mt. Juliet,” Darryl shared with a smile of his own. “It means so much to me to be playing here at this place. I honestly can feel him here! Charlie Daniels was a mentor to me and such a good friend; a dear soul and y’all meant the world to him too,” Worley humbly said as he choked up. “I think what would make him happy is if we just got busy and threw down like it was a Volunteer Jam,” he finished as he slowed the set down for the first time with his first ever #1 song “I Miss My Friend,” which finished to a rousing ovation as he continued ahead with “Lonely Alone.”

Inviting us into his private life, Worley laughed as he told of when he excitedly first brought “Lonely Alone” home for his wife Kimberly to hear and she responded with, “Oh great! They’re all gonna think we’re breaking up!”

Breaking out the harmonica and leading another rousing clap along with the crowd, Worley and the Krew leaned their way through the humorously tilted “Family Tree,” during which many in the crowd could be seen tapping toes and hip shaking along with the down-home groove.

“A lot of you out there tonight already know that we do a lot of things to support our US military,” Worley gratefully said as the crowd cheered in support. “I wrote this song when we had returned home from the Middle East after entertaining our troops in the middle of a war zone. I learned a lot on that trip, and I can remember kissing the ground at the airport when we got back here. I got together with my family members who served and had them say yes or no to lines so that this song could be the most authentic it could be,” he finished as he raised the patriotic banner with the incredible, “I Just Came Back From a War,” which he finished with a very humble “thank you for your service” to all the vets and enlisted military who were out in the audience.

Plugging his annual event before playing “Tennessee River Run,” Worley encouraged that “if y’all wanna know what this song is all about, then come on down and see us at our event that we do for the Darryl Worley Foundation. It’s a good time every fall!”

As a slight breeze blew across the otherwise humid night, it caused Worley to pause for a moment and veer off his setlist to play “Second Wind,” a song he said to be gifted from above which he explained his late mother called a healing song, oner that will lift you up no matter what troubles you might be dealing with.

Turning the wide-open park into a blazing Friday night honky-tonk, Worley honored an influence in Merle Haggard when he played his “Working Man Blues,” during which he allowed each individual member of his band to stand in the spotlight as they introduced themselves and their respective instruments to the very receptive crowd.

Moving through the middle part of the set, Worley backed the Haggard tune perfectly into the ultra-bluesy “I’m Living the Dream,” and pushed it right into “Tequila on Ice,” which he challenged the couples before playing to get on out to the front of the stage and turn it into the world’s largest dance floor.

“This next one gets a little gnarly….in a good way!” exclaimed Worley with a sly look on his face as he continued with, “it’s all about love!” as the band hit on the sexy groove to get the crowd dancing along with “Nothin’ but a Love Thang.”

“My daddy was an unbelievably hard worker and a wonderful provider, but the downside is that he thought everyone should work like he did,” Worley told. “But this next song is about something that he’d always say to us all the time,” he finished as the opening notes to “Sounds Like Life to Me” began and immediately had the crowd singing along with the hit song as he pushed into the final portion of his one hour and forty-minute set.

Worley then allowed us to drift away vacation style on the back of the tropical vibe of “I Need A Breather,” slowed things back down with another strong showing of support of the troops through “POW 369,” and delivered “Awful Beautiful Life,” which had everyone clapping and singing along as he gratefully and humbly thanked everyone in the crowd for making the song a #1, exclaiming “I wouldn’t have that without you!”

“This is a pretty important song for me, and it had a lot to do with me getting to know Charlie (Daniels),” Darryl said. “He sought me out after this song and called me a true patriot, but he also told me that I was going to be called on to do a lot of things that take me away from my family but put me with the US military. This last song we’re gonna play is as much about our military as it is our first responders. It’s a reminder to remember those who serve us every day,” he paused as the crowd rose a thankful cheer into the nighttime sky. “There’s someone out there serving right now so that we can be here doing this tonight...don’t forget about them! I’m so very thankful to you that this song spent 7 weeks at #1 and it is the biggest hit I’ve ever had,” Worley finished as he closed his set with “Have You Forgotten?” while fireworks blasted into the sky above the stage as the final notes were played.

A consummate professional!

A hitmaking artist and songwriter!

An incredible live performer!

All of these are greatly accurate descriptions of Darryl Worley.

However, underneath all of it sits a completely humble and always grateful person who understands the importance of heartfelt thankfulness and bonding with an audience on a level that digs deeper than just through the music, as was evident by the smiles that he and The Krew wore on their faces all night long, and by the way that while their onstage banter was full of inside jokes, they were all done in such a way that it allowed the fan to be in on them while instantly making them part of the extended family!


1) Callin’ Caroline

2) A Good Day to Run

3) Livin’ in the Here and Now

4) I Miss My Friend

5) Lonely Alone

6) Family Tree

7) I Just Came Back From a War

8) Tennessee River Run

9) Second Wind

10) Working Man Blues (Merle Haggard cover)

11) I’m Livin’ the Dream

12) Tequila On Ice

13) Nothin’ but a Love Thang

14) Sounds Like Life to Me

15) I Need a Breather

16) POW 369

17) Awful Beautiful Life

18) Have You Forgotten?


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