Darryl Worley’s Party Dimmed by Chris LeDoux’s Death

Singer Discusses New Single, Prospects for a Duet

Just as Darryl Worley was sitting down with reporters Wednesday (March 9) to discuss his latest hit, news came that fellow singer Chris LeDoux had died of complications from liver cancer. “It kind of strikes me odd,” Worley mused, “because he’s been such a tough rascal. He’s the last one you’d expect this to happen to. … Everywhere I go, he’s already been there, or he’s coming in. So there’s going to be an empty spot out there.”

Worley made his remarks at the ASCAP offices in Nashville prior to a party to celebrate the recent No. 1 status of “Awful, Beautiful Life,” a song he co-wrote with Harley Allen. Worley was on the road Feb. 17 when BMI, ASCAP’s competing performance rights organization, staged a similar celebration for Allen.

LeDoux’s death turned the conversation toward Worley’s somber new single, “If Something Should Happen,” a song that deals with a man contemplating his own passing. “I’m no stranger to losing people — family members and friends,” Worley said. “I became very sensitive to how fragile life is at an early age.”

Although he had no hand in writing “If Something Should Happen,” he said that it strikes uncannily close to home. “Catherine,” the woman named in the song, is also the name of Worley’s grandmother, and “Marianne,” also mentioned, is the name of his grandmother’s best friend.

Worley said that when he heard the song, he was certain that songwriters James Brown, Dave Turnbull and Daniel Demay had researched his life to write it. But they assured him they hadn’t. “That song meant what it meant the first time I heard it,” he marveled. Last week, he filmed a music video for the song.

Allen had already written the memorable tagline when he presented Worley with the idea for “Awful, Beautiful Life,” the singer said. But he convinced Worley there was still room to build in elements from his own life. Worley noted he gets a bigger audience response to “Awful, Beautiful Life” than to any other of his hits except “Have You Forgotten?” which he characterized as “a whole different type of song.” Some nights when he sings it, he said, “you wonder if they’re not going to jump on the stage.”

Asked if he had ever been interested in recording a duet, Worley said he had considered doing one with Lee Ann Womack, but that it hadn’t worked out. He added that he’s also contemplated a duet with Patty Loveless. “It’s definitely something we want to do.”

Worley was enthusiastic about the changes he’s seen among the people of Iraq during his several appearances there. At first, he said, “they look like they hate you — and they do.” But, he added, when he made return trips to that embattled country, he saw a “softer” look as the people concluded Americans meant them well.

Worley said he’s been so busy on the road that he doesn’t even remember where he was when he heard that “Awful, Beautiful Life” had reached No. 1. He joked that when his managers put a “personal day” on his crowded calendar “that means we haven’t figured out yet what he’s going to do on that day for us.”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.