It’s been more than two decades since I first saw Daryle Singletary, singing for tips at The Broken Spoke Saloon in Nashville. In fact, I became aware of this aspiring country star by way of other country stars.
We had just gotten back to the Longhorn restaurant from Doug Supernaw’s GOLD record party. Toby Keith and Mark Chesnutt were at the bar and were getting up a group to share a taxi to go see this singer named Daryle Singletary.
I had only been in town a few months and, what with school and work, going to see live music wasn’t something I had any time for. I said, “Who is Daryle Singletary?” All of sudden, Mark turned around and said, “One of the best real country singers I ever heard!”
I said, “Really?” Then Mark said, “Come to his show and see him play and put him in your magazine (I was writing for Texas Country Music Magazine at the time). I did go, and I became one of his biggest supporters and fans. I also remember putting my last $5.00 bill in his jar and wishing I could have put a $100.00 dollar bill in there.
I decided I would give him the exposure, friendship and support that money cannot buy. I am still paying it forward 24 years later.
Which brings us to the present, and his latest project.
One thing is for certain: it’s not bro-country or anything like it. It’s traditional country, pure and simple. Daryle Singletary’s new album, “There’s Still A Little Country Left,” is his first since 2009’s “Rockin’ in the Country.”
Daryle, who has released seven previous albums and is best-known for hits such as “I Let Her Lie,” “Too Much Fun” and “Amen Kind of Love,” knows what his fans want and that is solid country tunes in the traditional style.
With that in mind, he kicks off this album with the ‘tell it like it is’ track, “Get Out of My Country.” His fans will be nodding and saying “Amen” when they hear him say, “Throw on a hat, grab a six-string and think you’re country.” The song takes a wry poke at certain aspects of current country music with lyrics like: “If you ain’t livin’ it, I ain’t buyin’ it / If you came to Twang Town just for the money / Pack it up son, get out of my country.” Tough words but he delivers them with a touch of humor.
The mood changes with the wistful ballad “Say Hello to Heaven,” a song to a sadly missed loved one who is asked to say hello to Jesus and tell him we’re not mad, we just miss you so much. This is Singletary at his gentlest and most heartfelt.
Happier times are on hand with “Sunday Mornin’ Kind of Town,” a sing-along tribute to small-town country life. But what’s traditional country without at least one bar-room song? The album delivers with classic-sounding “Spilled Whiskey,” as a man remembers a special night that “burned so fast, it was pretty while it lasted / like a lighted match on spilled whiskey.”
Daryle recently told me that if he had to pick a favorite cut on the album, it would probably be “So Much Different Than Before,” because it’s the first song he had a part in writing after his twins were born in 2010. “We wrote this biographical song about my life at the time,” he told me. “There was two of everything. It goes from just me and my wife, and then there were two little guys to take care of. Everything changed and that song is a pretty special song for me.”
While devoting so much of his attention of his newly expanded family, Daryle said it wasn’t until 2011 or even 2012 before he started working seriously on the new album. “We pushed the release back three or four times,” he told me, “because I had a song on there that I wrote, then took it off and recorded another song that I found and I thought was better, so it’s just been a process where I own it, I’m doing it myself and how I want to.”
The new album feature ten new songs plus two bonus tracks: Daryle’s stirring rendition of “America the Beautiful” and “The Only Hell My Mother Raised,” featuring the voice of Johnny Paycheck.
Traditional country fans rejoice. Daryle Singletary is here to prove that “There’s Still A Little Country Left.” Amen, Daryle, Amen!
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Album review by Preshias Harris