Together, the two artists have more than three decades of experience working in Nashville’s music scene and they’ve always led musical lives. Washington state native Clark moved to Nashville to pursue music in 1997, while Worsham arrived in 2006 from Mississippi. Both are considered part of a rising class of country originators who have come into popularity over the last decade solely based on their artistic merit.
“There are a lot of [Nashville artists] like us who have their 10-year or 20-year coins,” Worsham tells CMT Hot 20 Countdown. “And the world doesn’t know who they are necessarily. But they felt their impact, or they will know who they are, or both. There’s no other place that creates what Nashville creates.”
“One reason I loved the choice of Charlie and I to do this tour together,” Clark added, “for me, very selfishly, not only do I love his music, but it’s always good to be on the road with people when you think, ‘My show has to be good because I know theirs is going to be great.’ And we haven’t even talked about what a great musician he is.”
Their musical journeys are almost identical, too. Both artists released debut albums in 2013 and went through long wait periods before the release of their respective follow-ups. Worsham’s Rubberband landed that August and Clark’s 12 Stories was released two months later.
Critics hailed Clark’s Big Day in a Small Town among 2016’s best country releases, while Worsham’s new album Beginning of Things has already garnered early acclaim.
“My first record 12 Stories came out end of 2013,” Clark said. “And then my second record Big Day in a Small Town came out in summer 2016, and so that’s a long time. Some of the songs on the second record were written before 12 Stories, and I played the 12 Stories record so much that the first gig where we started playing songs from Big Day in a Small Town, it was really fun.
“But it was also kind of scary because it’s different in the studio. Then to figure out how do we do this with five players live. How do we make it sound as much like the record as we can or a version that competes with what’s on the record? It’s just great to see the fans’ reaction because … it’s always shocking to me what they love. It’s usually something I’ve overlooked.”
“I really am excited about playing these new songs live,” Worsham added. “The arc of having to translate a song live is a really fun journey and if it’s a roller coaster, I’m on that first big drop right now. Before it’s over I’ll ride that roller coaster a million times and love it every time. But there’s nothing like that first experience of seeing it work on a stage and in an audience.”
CMT Hot 20 Countdown‘s full interview with Clark and Worsham on their new tour is on an all-new episode, airing Saturday and Sunday (April 22-23) at 9 a.m. ET/PT. Their tour continues Saturday in Annapolis, Maryland.