Charlie Worsham’s Summer of Side Projects

Raises Money for Talented Youth Back Home and Finds East Nashville's Best Burger

Charlie Worsham’s critically-acclaimed debut album Rubberband turned three on Saturday (Aug. 20). Not only that, summer 2016 marks 10 years in Nashville for the guitar-slinging Mississippi native.

A lot has changed since then. But at heart, he will always be among country music’s kindest musicians. So how does one of the genre’s biggest hearts occupy his time between albums? He follows his own by getting creative with friends and raising money to support the talented youth back home in Grenada, Mississippi.

Next week (Aug. 29), he wraps a month-long “Every Damn Monday” residency at Nashville’s Basement East nightclub with a live performance of Rubberband from start to finish for the final time. For a $5 cover every Monday in August, Worsham packed the place for nights of live covers celebrating his musical friends and influences, including a night of blues, a John Mayerathon and a writer’s round with hit-makers Luke Dick and Shane McAnally.

Much like his successful midnight jamborees at the 2016 CMA Music Festival, all walks of Music Row life have turned out in droves for the “Every Damn Monday” shows. Onstage, Worsham welcomed a who’s who of rising talent including Brent Cobb, vocalist Logan Brill, hit-man Abe Stoklasa and guitarist Johnny Duke. Spotted in the audience at Monday’s (Aug. 22) show were Kelsea Ballerini and Natalie Stovall.

In the back of the Basement East, a merchandise booth offered autographed vintage 8-by-10 photos of a young Worsham dressed in traditional Western attire with his banjo and copies of his first independently released album, Ready to Roll, featuring 14 tracks of the boy artist shredding some bluegrass instrumentals.

All the proceeds from the series will benefit his Follow Your Heart scholarship through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The fund was set up to support the talented youth in his hometown who possess an uncommon drive to achieve great things in the arts.

Also this summer, he became a new dog dad to Peggy Sue, a mutt he adopted from his songwriting partner and neighbor, Dick.

When the two aren’t playing music or playing with their dogs, they stay creative by coming up with fun Sunday afternoon adventures, like an eating challenge called a Burger Bang Bang. For those who have forgotten childlike fun, a Burger Bang Bang is a kind of Goonies quest creative kids come up with during their summers off growing up, except Dick and Worsham are adults in their 30s.

The rules were simple: place takeout orders for two cheeseburgers with the works and a side of fries at Dino’s, Family Wash, Pharmacy, Riverside Grill Shack and Three Crow Bar. Pick up the food, meet back at Dick’s home studio for the challenge and film clips along the way for a funny online video for friends and fans to enjoy with their morning cartoons. There was even an animal-based, very official burger ranking system with check boxes next to images of a dragon, bear, tiger, snake and lion. Giving a burger a lion rating meant it was the best damn burger in East Nashville.

There is a method behind all the silliness, and it is that life is too short to not cut loose and get creative with friends. Dick happens to be one of Nashville’s most in-demand songwriters at the moment. He co-wrote Eric Church’s new single “Kill a Word,” and when he’s not writing songs for Ryan Beaver, Dierks Bentley, the Cadillac Three, Kip Moore and Jerrod Niemann, he produces music for Haley Georgia and takes classical piano lessons on the side.

He also has an independent documentary in the works about his first years of life growing up at the Red Dog topless bar in Oklahoma City where his young mom made her living as a showgirl. Now she works as a nutritionist at a retirement facility, while he works full-time as Music Row hit-man and shares a home with his wife Meredith, daughter Emily, son Emmett, three dogs and two backyard chickens.

The follow-up to Worsham’s debut is complete and a release date is to be announced. Dick co-wrote “Birthday Suit,” which is expected to be featured on the project. A punk rock version of the song by Republican Hair is available now on its six-song I Don’t Care EP. Kicking off with the title track, the new wave collection offers some fun options of how one could spend an apocalypse.

Through his extracurricular activities of giving back and collaborating with others, Worsham continues to prove that he is among the few acts making country music right now that people will still want to hear 30 years later. If country music can teach English as a second language, his music is the kind of language fans would want their kids to know.

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.