Darryl Worley was born and raised in Tennessee, the son of a Methodist minister and a mother who sang in the church choir; his grandfather was well-schooled in country and bluegrass. Darryl grew up with the usual country life of hunting, fishing and going to church, with maybe a little scrap now and then. Worley later attended the University of North Alabama, where he studied biology and chemistry while playing off-campus honkytonks in his spare time. In 1994, he got a deal with EMI Publishing, which took him to Nashville. His music puts a touch of modern sheen on songs rooted in the traditionalist movement. He enjoyed a major hit in 2003 with the patriotic anthem “Have You Forgotten?” Darryl had taken part in a USO tour to entertain American troops in Kuwait and Afghanistan, which inspired him to write the song. He has now given it a fresh perspective in a new version. NRA Country’s Lisa Supernaugh had a chance to catch Darryl in between shows to ask him a few questions. Check out his new music and tour dates at darrylworley.com and on all social-media platforms—you won’t be disappointed!
LS: What was your introduction to firearms?
DW: My introduction to firearms was going with my mom and dad to shoot guns or going with other family members that my dad trusted. There were rigid guidelines and rules, and if we didn’t stay within the lines, we would have to miss the next adventure. Safety is so important!
LS: You’ve been hunting since you were a young boy; do you pass that love on to your daughter, Savannah?
DW: Yes! We eat the meat, so hunting has been a big part of Savannah’s life always. Just like my parents did with me, we took her out shooting to learn how to properly handle a gun with all the same rigid rules so that she learned safety first. Then from a young age I would take her in the deer stand with me or out hunting turkeys. As she got older, she was able to get in her own stand, and a few years ago, killed her first deer. She was so excited! I’m so thankful to share the love of the outdoors with my daughter.
LS: How does it feel to have written a theme song for Americans when we were at our most vulnerable after the 9/11 attack?
DW: “Have You Forgotten?” clearly struck a nerve—it was unifying; it was more the voice of the people than even I thought it would be! The response was overwhelming and felt divinely driven. It feels like a gift from God. It is such a blessing that He spoke to me and Wynn Varble and used our words and my voice to try to bring our nation together after such an evil, horrible attack. That song was about honoring and appreciating those on the frontline at home and overseas and remembering those we lost, and their families left behind. It reminded us as a nation that God uses all things for the good of those who love him. I was blessed to be the messenger and I’m eternally thankful!
LS: What inspired you to rewrite the song and choose the title “Have We Forgotten?”
DW: A friend of mine suggested we should write a new lyric for the 20th anniversary. Wynn Varble and I felt there was again a message that needed to be conveyed—that we as a people here in America need to help with the problem of division. If everyone that hears this song makes an effort, it will make a huge difference in our nation. United we stand. We are better in every way when we are pulling together.
LS: As a patriot, what does freedom mean to you?
DW: I love the fact that we have freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom to go where we please and live where we please, and also freedom to keep and bear arms to protect ourselves and our families. So many would love to chop our constitution into pieces and make it whatever they would like it to be, but that would totally defeat the purpose of it being there in the first place. I pray that we all can see how blessed we are to be a free people and do whatever it takes to keep that freedom intact. I love my country and I believe in our constitution. We would be very wise to continue to hold these things dear.
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