Five Questions with Charlie Worsham
Country newcomer Charlie Worsham has been hard at work on his debut album, Rubberband, which is set for release Aug. 20. The Mississippi native, who is known for his banjo skills and signature orange chucks, is eager for fans to finally hear the project.
His debut single, “Could It Be” is cruising up the charts and is currently Top 20 at country radio. Worsham, who opened for Taylor Swift on her Speak Now Tour, is also gearing up to hit the road with Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley for several dates on their Locked & Reloaded Tour.
Five Questions with Charlie Worsham
CMIL: Describe your feelings leading up to the album release – are you nervous, excited, anxious?
CW: It feels like my first child is being born. I don’t know what it would be like to be either an astronaut or a family member of an astronaut back in the sixties with NASA counting down to the rocket launch, but I imagine on a smaller scale it’s kind of the same myriad of emotions. There’s a lot of excitement, there’s some nerves, there’s some hurry up and wait, a little bit of exhaustion. And then feeling just a whole lot of love from my family, friends, my hometown, peers that I work with, and the greater country music community. It’s definitely a first for me in every sense of the word.
CMIL: You co-wrote every song on the album – that’s a pretty big feat! Was that something you set out to do, or did it just sort of happen that way?
CW: It is [a big feat]. The crazy thing about this record is I didn’t necessarily set out to be a writer on every song. With some songs on the album, I had more of a hand in than others. I was really just blessed to be in the room. I wrote the album with a wide of writers in the Nashville community. They’ve all just got so much talent and they make me feel humble and jealous and inspired all at the same time, so I’m really proud to have the collection to put out there with their names next to mine.
CMIL: As a studio musician, you’re obviously a talented with a variety of instruments, but what we love most is watching you play the banjo. How did you pick that up?
CW: It’s kind of funny. I didn’t plan on wanting to play the banjo. I wanted a guitar, big time. My mom was worried that I would have earrings, long hair, and tattoos – which I have now – if I picked up a guitar. It’s the single best reason – I think it’s the best reason why I actually play music for a living now and didn’t just lead it to a hobby or anything because the banjo has a right hand technique that helped me learn to be more disciplined in practicing early on. The turning point was a trip to Opryland. I went up to Nashville wanting a guitar and then we saw Mike Snider play at Opryland and I left there wanting a banjo. It just looked cool and sounded cool.
CW: Vince and Marty were two separate experienced that were equally humbling. They both took time to encourage me and tell me stories about when they first started out. Their encouragement is something that I carry with me on almost a daily basis because I’m traveling and playing every kind of gig imaginable, but to know that there’s a line and trails were paved and I’m traveling down the same road my heroes paved. I don’t know how much paving I’m doing, but I’m certainly walking the same path. It’s a really humbling thing because all I wanted to do was be Vince Gill when I grew up but with Marty Stuart’s hair and a rhinestone jacket.
CMIL: You’re making real, traditional country music cool again. Is it important to you to maintain that traditional country sound in your music?
CW: The one thing I think is pretty universal whether it’s Kacey Musgraves, Florida Georgia Line, or anyone in between is I think everyone is being true to who they are. It’s something that you can’t escape. That’s the great thing about this format. If you’re going to make it, you’re going to have to make it being what it is you are because the audience is a lot smarter than they’re sometimes getting credit for. They know when someone’s trying to pull the wool over their eyes. It is intentional, but it’s also sort of inescapable for me to emulate the artists that are my heroes from the 90s. I don’t know if that’s going to help me or hurt me in the long run but it’s certainly what I love. Sometimes I worry that I don’t have enough rock and roll on my record. It’s like being a ballplayer who doesn’t use steroids, but I’d rather fly or crash the plane with my hands on the wheel regardless of the outcome than fly it sitting in the back.
Fans can keep up with Charlie on charlieworsham.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. His album Rubberband is available for pre-order on iTunes and comes with an instant download of his chart-climbing single “Could It Be.”