Monday, December 22, 2003

...So I Met Darryl Worley Yesterday... 
Yeah, the country music star. He came by our compound as part of a USO Tour. Supposedly, we were also waiting for the Washington Redskins cheerleading squad, too, although I wasn’t sure what they were supposed to do. Provide us with a motivational cheer or something.

Anyway, we had set up a borrowed PA system on the back of a truck, and set some chairs out in front, and since I just got off shift, I jumped at the opportunity to grab my electric violin and plug into the PA system and play some fiddle tunes.

I figured I’d have time for two or three sets and the USO tour would roll in and I’d get out of there and just enjoy the show. But the USO tour was late, and so it turned into an impromptu violin concert that lasted over an hour—until I started having a hard time thinking of tunes I hadn’t played yet. Unlike the last impromptu concert, this one had an audience of about 200 people.

I’m accustomed to a drunker audience, but it was fun nevertheless.

Finally Worley arrived with another guitar player. No sign of the Washington Redskins cheerleaders, unfortunately. I overheard some sergeant major briefing Worley and his group on his audience:

“This is Ar Ramadi. This is the real thing. These guys have been shot at, they’ve been blown up…they’re front line soldiers. They’re infantry.”

“Ummm, was that Ar Ramadi we just drove through?”

I had to laugh.

“You guys didn’t TELL them in advance that they were going to Ar Ramadi!?”

Worley only played a couple of tunes. It was a difficult environment to sound good in. Cold weather, lousy PA, no sound check at all. No mic stand—one of our soldiers had to hold the mic up so he could sing.

Afterward, though, his guitar player and I had a chance to talk a bit of shop. (I’ve always been more interested in the anonymous studio and touring side musicians than the stars, anyway.)

Worley was great—very generous with his time afterwards, and signed a lot of autographs for the troops. All around class act. He even hung out after they guys driving the vehicles in his convoy were pressuring him to leave so they could get back before dark.

So, a big thanks to Darryl Worley for coming to see us!


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